Nail guns are tools used to drive nails into wood or some other materials. They typically involve using compressed air, electromagnetism, small explosive charges, or butane or propane. For builders, carpenters, and other construction workers, nail guns are often used more than hammers. Unfortunately, nail guns are also a major cause of serious injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 37,000 people go to the ER each year because of a nail gun injury. About 3 in 5 nail gun injuries are work-related. The most common types of injuries include hand and finger puncture wounds. Some deaths and more serious injuries may also occur.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 2 in 5 residential carpenters have a nail gun injury every four years. Many injuries are not reported. Many victims don’t get the care they require.
Nail gun safety measures
Nail guns that just have a single shot or a full sequential trigger are generally better than other types of nail guns for reducing the risk of accidental discharge. The CDC and OSHA recommend the following safety measures:
- Proper training on how to use the nail gun. The workers (experienced and new) should understand how each type of nail gun works; how different triggers work; where the instruction manual is; how to load, fire, and hold the nail gun; and other training suggestions.
- Keeping the trigger (called a bump, automatic trigger, or contact trip trigger) squeezed – when not actively using the nail gun. Contact trip triggers are subject to double firings.
- That workers use personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes quality boots (often steel or composite toe), eye protection, and hard hats. Workers may also need ear plugs or other devices.
- That injuries and close calls be actively reported and reviewed. The more employers understand when injuries occur, the better they can evaluate the necessary safety measures that need to be implemented.
The nail guns should be regularly checked (along with the power sources) before they are used. Other safety protocols should include how to use the nail guns in different types of positions and conditions.
Independent contractors have the right to file a personal injury claim for negligence if the employer failed to provide proper PPE, failed to establish quality safety protocols, or were negligent in other ways.
Construction employees who are injured due to a nail gun injury have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. There is no need to prove fault in a work injury claim. The injured worker should be entitled to payment of the ER bill and any other related medical expenses. Workers should also be entitled to a signification portion of the average weekly income during the time they can’t work. Workers who suffer a permanent disability may be entitled to wage loss benefits for a specific number of weeks, depending on the severity of the injury.
At Cunningham & Mears, we represent employees and independent contractors. We also represent homeowners doing residential repairs. Our Oklahoma City injury lawyers have a combined 55 years of experience filing product liability claims, personal injury claims, and workers’ compensation claims. We demand compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income. We explain when it’s necessary to prove fault and when you don’t need to prove fault. For help with any nail gun or construction accident, call us at 405.232.1212 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.