Did you know that over 37,000 people in the United States go to the emergency room every year due to nail gun injuries? This staggering figure shows that users need to follow strict safety protocols to lower the risk of injury caused by this tool. I’ve devised the top 5 nail gun safety tips to keep you safe when using a nail gun.
Choose the Right Trigger
Triggers can lead to premature nailing, which can cause massive injury. The right trigger type will lessen the risk of unintended firing of the gun. I recommend a sequential-trip trigger. Contact triggers will fire the gun once it comes on contact with the surface of an object.
Sequential triggers require the gun to be depressed prior to firing, which leads to fewer injuries. Homeowners or anyone not working in a professional setting should use a sequential-trip trigger at all times.
Wear Proper Protective Equipment
Protective equipment must be worn when operating a nail gun. Many eye injuries and ear injuries can be avoided simply because a person is wearing the proper equipment necessary for the job. The equipment you’ll want to use includes:
- Hard hats.
- Safety glasses or goggles.
- Earplugs or earmuffs.
- Goggles should meet ANSI Z87.1 protection standards.
If you’re working on a work site for an employer, all of this equipment should be provided to you for free. OSHA requires all employers to provide proper safety equipment to their employees when using nail guns.
Follow Basic Safety Standards
There are a lot of precautions you should take when using a nail gun. These precautions include never:
- Disabling safety features or removing springs from triggers to make them easier to pull.
- Carrying the nail gun with your finger on the trigger.
- Carrying or lifting the nail gun by the hose.
- Pulling on a nail gun that is stuck while it is on.
- Using your weak hand to operate the nail gun.
- Clearing jammed nails while the unit is on.
- Going up or down stairs with a nail gun that is on.
- Leaving a running nail gun powered while being unattended.
These are basic safety procedures that often go unfollowed and lead to severe risk of injury.
Read the Instruction Manual
It goes without saying: read the instruction manual for your nail gun. Every model is different, and some require different usage than others. You want to know how to:
- Properly operate your nail gun.
- How to maintain your nail gun.
- Safety mechanisms available.
Construction companies should provide adequate training to all employees on specific equipment, including nail guns. The more aware and knowledgeable you are about a specific unit, the less likely you are to get injured.
Store the Unit Properly
Many injuries occur because of improper storage. Children or non-workers have been known to pick up a nail gun left on the table unattended and accidently fire a nail into their hand or other body part. Storing a nail gun requires:
- Storing the unit out of reach of children.
- Ensuring the unit is always powered down.
- Ensuring the elements (wind, rain and snow) do not reach the unit.
The best nail gun safety tips are always the fundamentals. If you follow the 5 tips above, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of injury occurring while using a nail gun. Remember: safety first.