Nail guns are used at residential construction sites around the country to boost productivity. And while they allow operators to drive nails more efficiently compared to those using hammers and nails, nail guns also cause tens of thousands of injuries every year.
One study, reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, found that two out of every five residential carpenters had experienced a nail gun injury in a four-year period. As often as they occur, these injuries are rarely reported or given medical attention. In an effort to reduce the risk these otherwise helpful tools pose to construction employees, integrate these best practices into your workplace safety program:
- Use nail guns with a full sequential trigger. Residential carpenters are at twice the risk of nail gun injury when using contact triggers compared to sequential triggers. The full sequential trigger reduces the risk of unintentional nail discharge and double fires. At a minimum, provide full sequential trigger nail guns for work where lumber needs to be held in place by hand.
- Train nail gun operators. Make sure both beginners and experienced crew members receive training. In addition to reviewing the differences between the different types of triggers and the main causes of injury, perform hands-on training with the specific nail guns that will be used on the job. This gives employees a chance to handle the nailers and receive feedback on their technique.
- Provide personal protective equipment. In addition to wearing safety shoes, which OSHA requires on all residential construction sites, employees must provide hard hats, high-impact eye protection and ear protection to their employees at no cost.
- Administer first aid and medical treatment. Encourage your employees to seek medical attention immediately after a nail gun injury, no matter how small the injury may initially appear. Research suggests that 1 out of 4 nail gun hand injuries can involve some type of structural damage such as bone fracture.
For more tips like this, or for professional safety management services that can drive safety awareness and compliance at your worksites, contact Safety Advantage today.