July 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

You Nailed It!


Nail gun injuries are all too common, and many are serious and painful. To drive home the importance of your nail gun safety message, give your workers the information under “Why It Matters” below to emphasize the variety and severity of injuries these power tools can cause.

Used safely, however, nail guns can greatly improve productivity. So explain to your workers that nail gun safety starts with understanding trigger mechanisms. All nail guns rely on two basic controls: a finger trigger and a contact safety tip.

Trigger mechanisms can vary on the basis of (1) the order in which the controls are activated, and (2) whether the trigger can be held in the squeezed position to discharge multiple nails or if it must be released and then squeezed again for each individual nail. Customize the following descriptions of the different trigger mechanisms to the type(s) used in your workplace:

·         Full sequential trigger: This is the safest type of nail gun trigger because it will fire a nail only when the controls are activated in a certain order—the safety contact tip must first be pushed into the work piece, and then the user squeezes the trigger to discharge a nail.

·         Contact trigger: Fires a nail when the safety contact and trigger are activated in any order, and if the trigger is kept squeezed, a nail will be driven each time the safety contact is pushed in.

·         Single sequential trigger: Like the full sequential trigger, this trigger will fire a nail only when the controls are activated in a certain order.

Single actuation trigger: Like the contact trigger, this trigger will fire a single nail when the safety contact and trigger are activated in any order.

Also make workers aware of these major risk factors that can lead to nail gun injuries:

·         Double fire, which can occur with contact trigger nail guns, happens when the second unintended firing happens faster than the user is able to react and release the trigger.

·         Knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed, which can occur with contact and single actuation triggers, happens when a framer knocks his leg going down a ladder or bumps into a co-worker passing through a doorway, for example.

·         Nail gun penetration through lumber, which can occur with all types of triggers, happens when nails pass through a work piece and either hit the worker’s hand or fly off as a projectile.

·         Nail ricochet, which can occur with all types of triggers, happens when a nail gun strikes a hard surface or metal feature.

·         Missing the work piece, which can occur with all trigger types, happens when the tip of the nail gun does not make full contact with the work piece, and the discharged nail becomes airborne.

·         Awkward position nailing, which can occur with all types of triggers, happens when the tool and its recoil are more difficult to control, thus increasing the risk of injury.

·         Bypassing safety mechanisms, which can occur with all types of triggers, happens when workers bypass certain features of either the trigger or safety contact tip. An example is removing the spring from the safety contact tip.

Train workers to follow these basic precautions to use nail guns safely:

·         Use the full sequential trigger nail gun (safest), especially for placement work where the lumber must be held in place by hand (for example, building walls and nailing blocking, fastening studs to plates and blocks to studs, and installing trusses).

·         Take training seriously, learn safety features, and practice using nail guns safely.

·         Follow required work procedures for nail gun use, and never break any safety rules.

·         Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including hard hat, high-impact safety glasses or goggles (marked ANSI Z87.1), and hearing protection.

·         Report accidents, injuries, and near misses, which helps identify unrecognized jobsite risks that could lead to additional injuries if not addressed.

Seek medical attention immediately after nail gun injuries,even for those that appear minimal.

Help your workers improve productivity by using nail guns safely.

Why It Matters

·         A study of apprentice carpenters found that 2 out of 5 were injured using a nail gun during their 4 years on the job. In addition, 1 out of 5 were injured twice, and 1 out of 10 were injured three or more times.

·         More than 50% of reported nail gun injuries are to the hand and fingers. Furthermore, 25% of hand injuries involve damage to tendons, joints, nerves, and bones.

·         After hands, the next most often injured are the leg, knee, thigh, foot, and toes.

·         Less common are injuries to the forearm or wrist, head and neck, and trunk.

·         Injuries to the spinal cord, eye, internal organs, and bones have also been reported.

Injuries have resulted in paralysis, blindness, brain damage, bone fractures, and death.

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