Dangers of Nail Guns

The Dangers of Using Your Nail Gun

Nail guns can be used for industrial construction work and for DIY construction projects. While their use is widespread, so, too are the safety risks associated with using nail guns.

Historically, the first nail gun was designed by Morris Pynoos in the 1950s. He was the civil engineer who worked on the now infamous Howard Hughe’s aircraft – the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the Spruce Goose). Morris used his original nail gun to nail the wooden fuselage together – which was subsequently glued and the nails themselves removed.

While nail guns are very easy to acquire and even more simple to handle, there are many safety risks associated with nail gun usage. be aware of the dangers of using your nail gun before you contemplate any new DIY projects to develop with it.You might think now is the perfect time to re-do your sub-floors or start a new home construction project, but before you do so, consider the safety concerns and possible disasters that could occur while using a nail gun.  

Increase in Nail Gun Accidents

Nail guns are currently responsible for approximately 42,000 emergency room visits each and every year according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  68% of these accidents are work-related and occur on the job. 32% are DIYers or consumers using a nail gun for projects. Severe nail gun injuries can even lead to construction worker deaths.

The most common type of injuries associated with nail gun use are injuries to your feet, hands or fingers. In addition, there are other injuries involving arms, legs and even your internal organs. Many people who sell nail guns are unaware of the dangers associated with nail gun use. That is why you need to know about the safety risks associated with nail guns.

Happily, many of these nail gun accidents can be prevented.The safety factor of your nail gun is greatly impacted by the type of nail gun you use. ‘Contact’ trigger nail guns have twice the risk of injury as ‘sequential’ trigger nail guns.

Types of Nail Guns

Here are several different kinds of nail guns and how they work:

Pneumatic Nail Gun – Compressed air in the return air chamber forces the air above the piston head out, propelling the nail forward. Pneumatic nail guns are used in construction projects to drive thick nails through hard material.

Powder-Actuated Nail Gun  – There are two broad categories of powder-actuated nail guns. The first uses gas pressure on the nail to drive it. The second kind is a low-velocity device. This type is safer as the nail gun cannot launch a free-flying projectile – even if misused or tampered with.

Combustion Powered Nail Gun –  Powered by propane gas and an air explosion in a small cylinder, the advantage of this type is that there are no rotating parts.

Electric Nail Gun – In certain types of electric nail guns, there is a rotating electric motor which gradually compresses a powerful spring to release the nails.

Solenoid-powered Nail Gun – With its long front rod, this type of nail gun uses a solenoid to propel the nail forward. There can sometimes be a series of solenoids used which receive a short, powerful burst of power from a large capacitor. Commonly referred to as a ‘coilgun.’

How do Nail Gun Injuries happen?

The seven major risk factors which lead to nail gun injury are:

  1. Nail penetration through a lumber workpieces;
  2. Missing the workpiece;
  3. Unintended nail discharge through double fire;
  4. Nail ricochet after striking;
  5. Awkward position nailing;
  6. Unintended nail discharge by knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed;
  7. Bypassing safety mechanisms.

What To Do When A Nail Gun Accident Happens

Obviously, the best course of action is to prevent a nail gun accident before it even occurs. In September 2011, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) both issued guides for nail gun accident prevention. The job with the most nail gun usage, in construction, is for frame carpenters or framers. If you are a framer or know someone who is, these next steps could be critical.

First things to do after a nail gun accident are:

  1. Get the worker safely to a doctor or emergency
  2. Take a photo of the nail gun used and the accident site
  3. Get legal advice.

Contact Us

Never accept an initial offer or settlement from a product manufacturer or insurance company.without first getting solid information from a qualified legal representative. Insurance companies initially try to ‘low-ball’ an offer. They are in business to protect their business; not your rights.
Once you or your loved one have recovered from your nail gun accident. It is a good time to seek legal advice. At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums. We’re here to help you get what you and your family deserve. Call (205) 322-8880 or fill out the contact form on this page.

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