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Workplace nail gun risks and safety concerns

Construction professionals are often exposed to significant risks in the work environment, and those in Pennsylvania should be aware of important safety protocol and risks related to their jobs. However, even experienced construction personnel can have problems related to faulty materials or equipment. Some nail gun injuries occur because of incorrect use of tools, but others can occur due to errors by co-workers or problems with materials.

Problems with nail guns and related injuries are most common in the residential sector of construction, and more than 60 percent of these injuries take place during framing or sheathing activities. Roofing is another significant activity that can result in nail gun injuries. At least half of these workplace injuries involve damage to fingers or hands, and 25 percent of hand injuries involve serious structural damage.

Experienced workers might avoid problems such as unintended nail discharge related to a double fire. However, faulty equipment or new technology could still result in issues even for the journeyman. Statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of apprentices have at least one nail gun injury during their training period. An apprentice might be particularly likely to have injuries related to double firing or unintended nail discharge. Awkward positioning while firing could also be a problem for the less experienced worker. Material characteristics could result in excessive nail penetration or in a ricochet. Injuries can also occur if a worker misses the intended target of the nail or if safety mechanisms are not correctly used.

Although a worker's actions could lead to a nail gun injury, worker's compensation insurance is designed to address medical needs incurred in a work environment regardless of fault. As long as a worker's injury isn't purposefully incurred, workers' compensation benefits should be available if the claim is filed in a timely manner.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Nail Gun Safety", accessed on March 7, 2015

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