Any construction professional knows how much the use of nail guns expedites a project. The powerful, simple-to-operate tool has been an industry game changer for years now.
But despite their presence as a longstanding construction staple, nail gun safety has not been generally mastered. In fact, nail guns are responsible for a whopping 37,000 emergency room visits each year, according to estimates published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in a joint publication.
This statistic is high enough to shock anyone—especially a Tennessee roofing attorney.
To prevent nail gun-related injuries and fatalities, make sure to stay proactive about your workers’ nail gun safety. This four-part article provides a detailed breakdown of nail gun safety, beginning with some eye-opening statistics. Part 2 will cover the most frequent causes of nail gun injury. Part 3 and Part 4 will provide tips on how to establish and enforce safe usage of this common tool.
Nail Gun Injury Facts and Statistics
A large percentage of nail gun injuries occur during residential construction projects. Framing and sheathing work are both major culprits, accountable for approximately two-thirds of these injuries. Predictably, many also occur while an employee is working on roofing or exterior siding and finishing.
The publication from OSHA and NIOSH listed the following statistics from a study of apprentice carpenters:
- 2 of 5 sustained a nail gun injury during their 4 years of training
- 1 of 5 had it happen twice
- 1 of 10 sustained three or more nail gun injuries during that time
Overall, the most nail gun injuries happen to the hands and fingers. Those may not sound like serious parts of the body, but one-fourth of those injuries include structural damage. This type of damage involves injury to the:
Though it’s less common to sustain an injury to the head, neck, or trunk, these injuries are still reported with some regularity. These include injuries causing:
- Brain damage
- Fractured bones
- Loss of life
To your employees, a nail gun may not seem like a dangerous item. Amid heavy pieces of machinery and more physically foreboding equipment, this small tool may seem like the least of their worries. However, nail guns cause more injuries than they probably realize. Education and prevention are key in protecting them from harm.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.