You’ve probably seen firsthand the damage that a nail gun can do. A pneumatic nail gun has the same force and penetration ability as a bullet, and with speeds over 200 mph, the wound a fired nail causes can be similar to a gunshot wound. While all workers on a construction site can be injured by these tools, some are inherently at more risk than others—especially those who work in residential construction.

Roofers and Framers Among Top Workers Injured by Nail Guns

A recent study discovered that 66% of nail gun injuries occur during the framing and sheathing stage of construction, with roofing following close behind. Of the workers injured, the most likely to suffer serious complications included:

  • Residential carpenters. Fourteen percent of all reported injuries were due to nail guns. Most of the injuries involved a nail puncturing the hands or fingers, followed by injuries to the foot, knee, toe, eye, thigh, or wrist.
  • Apprentices. Younger workers new to the trade were overwhelmingly likely to suffer a nail gun injury, with 25% of apprentices suffering a wound each year. As many as 12% of these injuries were caused when someone else using the gun accidentally struck the apprentice.
  • Journeymen. Typically older and more experienced workers, journeymen injury rates were considerably lower than apprentice rates. However, nearly a quarter of all “struck by” injuries reported on the job site were a result of nail guns.

How Can Roofing and Framing Injuries Be Prevented?

Construction workers should be trained on proper nail gun safety before they are allowed to handle the devices. For example, roofers are more likely to use “bounce” nailing, a method of firing nails in quick succession by keeping the trigger pressed down. These guns should have the trigger locked in place to prevent firing when the roofer is changing positions, going up or down a ladder, or shifting his attention to a task in his other hand.

If you know someone who uses these tools on a regular basis, send them a link to this article on Facebook to make sure they know as much as possible about nail gun safety.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer