Nail Gun Hazards
Nail guns are one of the most popular tools on construction sites in the United States. While nail guns greatly improve efficiency, it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong. One study recorded that two out of five residential carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury over a four-year period, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
When nail gun accidents do occur, the resulting injuries can be extreme. Nail guns are responsible for an estimated 37,000 emergency room visits each year, and 68% of those visits involve workers. Nail guns actually hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool at a construction site (OSHA).
How Nail Gun Injuries Happen
There are seven major risk factors for nail gun injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Unintended nail discharge from double fire – this occurs with contact triggers, which can fire multiple nails at a time. When trying to accurately place the gun on the work piece, a worker could accidentally fire a nail.
- Unintended nail discharge from knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed – when a worker keeps the trigger squeezed, then accidentally bumps the safety contact tip against something, the gun will fire.
- Nail penetration through lumber work piece – if a nail passes through a work piece, it can go into a worker’s hand or become airborne.
- Nail ricochet after striking a hard surface or metal feature.
- Missing the work piece – certain materials will cause a nail to ricochet off the material, hitting the worker.
- Awkward position nailing – if a worker is put in an awkward position, nailing above shoulder height, for example, he or she will have less control of the gun, increasing the likelihood of injury.
- Bypassing safety mechanisms – modifying tools to bypass safety mechanisms often increases the chances of unintended discharge. Safety mechanisms are there for a reason.
How to Prevent Nail Gun Accidents
OSHA’s “Nail Gun Safety Guide” covers nail gun safety in depth. According to the guide, there are six basic and practical steps that contractors can take to prevent nail gun injuries. Every employer and supervisor should:
- Use full sequential nail gun triggers – this kind of trigger forces the operator to drive one nail at a time, preventing injuries that could occur from “firing” multiple nails at a time.
- Provide training.
- Establish nail gun work procedures.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls.
- Provide first aid and medical equipment.
While some of these steps may sound like common knowledge, they are the essential practices that can result in injury to workers when neglected.
Contact a Knowledgeable Dallas Nail Gun Injury Attorney
In the unfortunate event that you or a family member does suffer from a nail gun accident at a construction site, several parties may be liable, though it depends on the specifics of your accident. If the nail gun was faulty, it could be the nail gun manufacturer or the tool’s owner. If you were pressured to perform an unsafe nailing maneuver, your supervisor or company could be liable. If your company did NOT provide protective equipment, train you, or ensure OSHA standards weren’t violated, your company could be liable. With or without a violation, you’ll need an experienced Dallas construction accident lawyer to help prove that party’s negligence caused the accident and get you the compensation you need to recover.
Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP is well-versed in construction accident and personal injury cases. Call us today at (214) 231-0544 for a free consultation, or fill out our convenient online contact form. We will let you know if you have a valid claim, and handle everything from there.