There are two common types of nail guns used in warehouse sites: pneumatic (compressed air) and power-actuated (explosive cartridge). They are both very dangerous if not used properly.
Nail guns have the capacity to fire several nails per second. Puncture wounds are the most common type of injury, often caused because the bump or trigger safety was disabled.
While puncture wounds to the extremities such as hands and feet are the most common, puncture wounds to places like the head or neck can cause more severe injuries and result in death.
Sequential triggers only fire when the nose is depressed against a surface before squeezing the trigger. To fire a second nail you must release and press the trigger and/or release and depress the nose.
Sequential-trip triggers are much safer than contact-trip triggers, which can fire accidentally if the nail gun recoils or the operator bumps against a surface or co-worker. Studies show that using sequential-trip triggers can cut injury rates in half without affecting productivity.
Nail guns speed up the work, but one careless motion is all it takes to lose an eye or put a nail through your hand.
The following are good work practices to help prevent injuries:
- Always wear the proper personal protective equipment – including eye protection – when you are using the nail gun.
- Always keep your hands and fingers off the trigger when you are not using the gun. Never carry the gun with your finger on the trigger.
- Before doing any sort of maintenance on your nail gun, whether reloading or clearing a jam, disconnect it from the air source or remove the cartridge.
- Keep your hands and fingers at least 18 inches away from the nail’s path.
- Never point the gun at another person or yourself.
- When you are not using the gun, engage the trigger safety device or disconnect the gun from its power source.
- Never modify safety features, such as tying or wiring the nose contact in the activated position.
- Never allow people who have not been trained to operate a nail gun.
- Always use the proper type of nails in the gun.
- Never overextend your reach when you are using the gun. Hold it firmly in your hand.
- Check the manufacturer’s instructions.