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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

6 Proven Nail Gun Safety Tips


Nail gun safety increases with modern, well maintained equipment. Keep nail gunners from getting an injury with these six tips.

The right nail gun trigger is just one of the items that will help save workers from a trip to the emergency room. Dan Clark says training, and jobsite best practices are important precautions when nail guns are being used.

Dan also explains that employers should provide PPE, and first aid. He also tells why it’s critically important for workers to report injuries and close calls.


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Dan Clark: Nail guns cause an estimated 37,000 emergency room visits annually. Picking a safer nail gun and using it right can change that.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, a service of Creative Safety Supply.

Do me a favor. If you make an order at, use coupon code Big10. It will save you 10%, and let them know I sent you.

Here are some startling facts:

• A study of apprentice carpenters found two out of five were injured by a nail gun during their four years of training. Two out of five!

• More than 50% of nail gun injuries are to the hands and fingers.

• Bystanders and coworkers account for about 12% of people injured by nail guns.

• In residential construction, nail gun injuries are the most common “struck-by” accident.

Let’s look at 6 Proven Nail Gun Safety Tips.

1. TRIGGERS. Choose a nail gun with a safer trigger. Single-shot sequential triggers are the safest. The nail gun only works if you touch the safety contact tip to the workpiece and then squeeze the trigger. Nails cannot be bump-fired. These sequential triggers can reduce injuries by half.

Multi-shot contact triggers are not as safe. You can touch the contact tip to an object and then squeeze the trigger in any order. All nails can be bump-fired. People, objects or the jobsite dog could bump the contact, releasing a nail.

2. PROVIDE TRAINING. Explain how triggers work, loading, air compressor use, holding lumber in place, firing the gun, identifying the causes of ricochets (like knots), and where you keep the manual. Hands-on, supervised training is important for new workers.

3. ESTABLISH BEST PRACTICES. Contractors should require workers to inspect nail guns prior to use. Take all malfunctioning nail guns out of service immediately. Hands should be 12 inches from the nailing point, and other people should not be in the line of fire. Have stated policies on air compressor use, and working at height. Metal joints and irregular lumber should be nailed manually.


4. PROVIDE PPE. Gloves, safety footwear, hardhats, high-impact eyewear and hearing protection. Every pneumatic blast is a loud sound spike, up to 136 dBA—a serious threat to eardrums. Remember, employees can not be required to provide their own personal protective equipment.

5. REPORT INJURIES AND CLOSE CALLS. This helps ensure medical attention, and makes managers aware of safety issues so they can make a change.

6. PROVIDE FIRST AID AND MEDICAL CARE. OSHA documents include a story about a man who shot himself in the leg with a nail gun, removed the nail and didn’t go to the doctor. Days later—guess what—he suffered from a lot of pain. Doctors discovered part of the nail was still in his leg and he’d broken his thigh bone. If workers are injured by a nail gun, they should seek medical care right away.

That’s all for this episode, 6 Proven Nail Gun Safety Tips. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Don’t forget save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code Big10.


The OSHA / CDC / NIOSH document Nail Gun Safety is here.

The CDC / NIOSH comic Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety is here.

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