Nail guns are a powerful tool on the project site that can greatly boost productivity without a steep learning curve. Unfortunately, negligence, improper usage, and unexpected accidents involving nail guns can be linked to approximately 37,000 emergency room visits annually. Nail gun accidents are mainly linked to residential construction, where roughly two-thirds of injuries can be traced back to framing and sheathing work. Injuries often occur during roofing and exterior siding and finishing, too. One of the best ways to avoid nail gun injuries is to familiarize yourself and your workers with the various types of trigger mechanisms utilized by these useful tools.
In this three-part article, an OSHA attorney from Cotney Construction Law will discuss a handful of different triggers, including:
- Part 1: Full Sequential Trigger
- Part 2: Contact Trigger, Single Sequential Trigger
- Part 3: Single Actuation Trigger
Along the way, we will discuss some important statistics related to nail gun safety and explore the most common types of injuries suffered by construction professionals. Remember, maintaining a safe project site is one of your most important duties as a contractor. Failure to do so could lead to a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you have OSHA breathing down your neck, consult an OSHA defense lawyer.
How Common Are Nail Gun Injuries?
As we mentioned above, nail gun injuries are relatively common, affecting tens of thousands of workers every year. OSHA conducted a study that examined the prevalence of nail gun injuries among apprentice carpenters. They found that, during a four-year training period, roughly 40 percent were injured when using nail guns. Approximately 20 percent of apprentices were injured twice, and one out of ten was injured three or more times. Over half of these injuries affected the hand and fingers. One-quarter of the aforementioned injuries led to the structural damage of tendons, joints, nerves, and bones. The most vulnerable areas following the hands include the leg, knee, thigh, feet, and toes. Injuries to the forearm or wrist, head and neck, and torso were considered less common by comparison. That said, injuries to the spinal cord, head, neck, eyes, internal organs, and bones have been reported as well. The effects of nail gun injuries differ drastically from case to case; however, some incidents have resulted in paralysis, blindness, brain damage, bone fractures, and even death. If a worker has been injured while working with a nail gun on the project site, consult an OSHA defense lawyer.
Full Sequential Triggers
As the safest type of nail gun trigger, full sequential triggers are used on many project sites across the country. The trigger can only fire when the controls have been activated in a particular order. First, the safety contact tip is pressed into the workpiece. Then, the trigger is squeezed and a nail is discharged. In order to fire a second nail, the safety contact tip and trigger must be released and activated again. Full sequential triggers don’t permit nails to be bump fired. Other names for this trigger include single-shot trigger, restrictive trigger, or trigger fire mode.
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.