The OSHA/NIOSH Guide to Nail Gun Safety

A Nail Gun is a common tool used by contractors and carpenters everyday at construction sites, especially in residential construction and every year, tens of thousands of painful injuries occur related to nail guns. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels said that nail gun injuries are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits annually.

In an effort to prevent nail gun injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a handbook for employers and self-employed contractors titled, “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors”.

Improving Nail Gun Safety in the Workplace
OSHA and NIOSH have developed six steps that employers can take to improve nail gun safety and prevent workers from injury or death.

  1. Use nail guns with a full sequential trigger – this type of trigger will reduce the risk of unintentional nail discharge and double fire, which includes bumping into co-workers.
  2. Provide adequate training – everyone benefits from training. Employers should provide hands on training, including operation, loading the nail gun, air compressor operation, awkward positions and what-to-do when the nail gun malfunctions.
  3. Establish work procedures – creating a step-by-step procedure for handling, operating and storing of nail guns will make the workplace safe and reduce employee injuries.
  4. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – workers should be provided and required to wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, high impact safety glasses with ANSI Z87.1 protection, and earplugs or earmuffs while operating a nail gun.
  5. Encourage employees to discuss the importance of nail gun safety – employees should be active in making sure fellow employees are following proper nail gun operating procedures.
  6. Provide adequate first aid supplies and immediate medical treatment immediately following nail gun injuries.

Nail Gun Don’ts

  • Never bypass or disable nail gun safety features, including removing the spring from the safety-contact tip, or securing the trigger so it does not need to be pressed.
  • Never keep your finger on the trigger when holding or carrying a nail gun that is not in use.
  • Never lower the nail gun from above or drag it by the air hose.
  • Never operate a nail gun with your non-dominate hand.

Click Here to download OSHA’s “Nail Gun Safety – A Guide for Construction Contractors” handbook.

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