Nail guns are used frequently on construction jobs, including in residential construction. Like all power tools, nail guns can cause serious injury. Nail gun injuries can happen due to accidental discharges whilst moving, carrying, and repositioning. Injury can also happen when fired nails strike other nails or timber knots causing them to ricochet. Incidents also occur when workers accidentally place themselves into positions where they are directly exposed to the projectile path of a nail gun.
The risk of a nail gun injury is greatly increased when using a contact trigger (bump fire or multishot) compared to using a full sequential trigger (single-shot). Most injuries occur when the nail gun is set to ‘bump fire’ mode, resulting in penetrating wounds to the operator or nearby workers.
It’s important you review the type of nail gun trigger system and the extent of information, instruction and training given to workers, particularly inexperienced and young workers.
There are a number of ways to reduce the risk of injuries. We have put together a few suggestions below and we encourage you to consult with your workers about how you can work together to ensure safe nail gun use on-site:
Note: Bump-fire nail guns potentially may be used to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries (e.g. strains and sprains) for jobs that involve high volume production and repetitive tasks. In these circumstances, ensure only highly experienced and skilled workers use these types of nail guns and implement other additional control measures to reduce the risk of injury.