The right nail gun will help you get the job done faster, but if you don’t use it properly, you may wind up in the ER. Before you start your next big project, read over these do’s and don’ts of nail gun safety tips to protect yourself – and the people around you.
Opt for a Full Sequential Trigger
A full sequential trigger is the safest of all nail gun triggers. While contact triggers may offer a slightly quicker response, you’re far more likely to injure yourself or someone else when using this type of trigger.
Full sequential triggers only fire nails when the gun’s controls are activated in a particular order. The safety contact tip must be pushed into the work material, and the trigger must be squeezed to discharge a nail. The safety contact tip and the trigger need to be released and then activated again before it will fire another nail. In other words, nails can’t be bump fired with this type of trigger.
Understand the Safety Protocols
Whether you’re new or experienced, it’s important to have an understanding of basic safety protocols when using a nail gun. Here’s what you should know:
- How your nail gun works, and the difference between trigger types.
- The primary causes of nail gun injuries.
- How to properly load, operate and fire the nail gun.
- How to work in awkward positions.
- What to do when your nail gun malfunctions.
Always Have the Instruction Manual on Hand
When working on a project, make sure that you have the nail gun instruction manual on hand at all times. Also, make sure that the manufacturer’s instructions and tool labels are followed accordingly and are well understood.
Inspect Before Using
Before you start using the nail gun, check the power source and the nail gun itself to ensure that both are in proper working order. If your nail gun has malfunctioned, do not attempt to use it.
It’s also important to check material surfaces before you begin nailing. When working with wood, look for nails, knots, hangers, straps or anything else that could cause ricochet or recoil.
Keep Your Hands Out of Harm’s Way
When doing placement work, be sure to keep your hands 12 inches away from the tip of the nailing gun at all times. It’s also recommended that you use clamps instead of your hands to brace.
When using the gun, be sure to fire nails away from your body and others.
Know When to Disconnect
It’s important to disconnect the air compressor when:
- Moving up and down stairs or ladders.
- Leaving a nail gun unattended.
- Removing jammed nails.
- Passing the nail gun to another user.
- Performing maintenance on the tool.
Wear Appropriate Safety Equipment
When using a nail gun, it’s important to wear the appropriate safety equipment at all times. This includes:
- Safety glasses or goggles pride protection.
- Hard hats.
- Earplugs or earmuffs for hearing protection.
- Safety shoes to protect your feet.
Just as there are some things you should always do when using a nail gun, there are some things that you should never do, like:
- Disable or bypass safety features. Tampering with the safety features of the nail gun will only put you at greater risk for injury. We couldn’t think of one legitimate reason for you to bypass the safety features of this tool, and if you’re using this gun in a professional setting, you should know that OSHA requires tools to be in safe condition during operation.
- Never walk around with your finger on the trigger. A full sequential trigger can help prevent injuries even if your finger is on the trigger, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And if you’re using a contact trigger, you could easily fire a nail accidentally and injure someone.
- Never use the nail gun with your non-dominant hand.
- Never drag the gun by the hose or lower it down from above. If the hose gets caught, locate the source of the problem and release the hose properly.
Always Put Safety First
Nail guns can be very safe if used properly. In fact, they can be safer than hammering nails by hand. But not following the appropriate safety protocols will put you and others at greater risk for injury. Follow these tips when using your nail gun to protect yourself and others who are working around you.