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White Card Update: Dangers of Nail Gun Use A Safety warning has been issued by Safety Authority, WorkCover NSW regarding the safe use of nail guns. The alert aims to draw attention to the dangers of using a nail gun and remind users that it is a high risk. The main issues concerned was preventing users from accidently discharging while using the nail guns and preventing the nails from accidently ricocheting and hitting people of objects nearby. A reason for particular concern was that majority of nail guns are used on residential construction sites, where workers may be tempted to be more relaxed with regard to safety. Workers need to be vigilant when working with nail guns and need to ensure they protect their own safety and the safety of those around them, by using tools correctly and ensuring regular manufacturer specified maintenance be performed. According to A number of incidents involving the use of nail guns have been reported every year. WorkCover have identified the following contributing factors for incidents involving nail guns: When in bump fire mode, the nail gun can be inadvertently discharged due to contact with an object such as the human body. A nail is fired when the operator maintains pressure on the trigger each time the contact tip is depressed. Inadvertent ricochets or penetration can occur when a nail is fired into a hard surface such as a wood knot, another nail, or other hard surfaces and results in the nail being bounced or projected off in an unpredictable direction. Source : e-use-of-nail-guns/

The warning comes after a nail gun attack on a construction site, left an apprentice blinded after he was shot at with a nail gun by another employee. Workers need to be aware of the dangers of nail gun negligence. The employee, who pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment was convicted and sentenced to a four month intensive corrections order. Although the worker in this case used the nail gun as a weapon, numerous cases have been reported were workers were unintentionally injured by a nail gun. According to The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) a person conducting a business is required to ensure, that safe systems of work are provided and maintained and that all workers are provided with the necessary information, training, instruction or supervision. This


applies to commercial as well as residential construction sites. There are 2 types of nail guns with which workers need to be familiar if they are to use safely. The first is a single shot gun which requires finger depression of the trigger for each nail fired. The second is a Bump fire which requires the trigger be held down and a nail is fired everytime the guns nozzle comes into contact with an object. Nail guns can be either pneumatic or powered by a gas canister. One of the suggestions made by WorkCover is that areas where nail guns are used are to be isolated from other workers and clearly defined with physical barriers and signage. goes on to list the recommendations made by WorkCover: WorkCover recommends the following actions to ensure safe use of nail guns: Users should be trained and instructed in their safe use. Young or inexperienced workers should only use nail guns under strict supervision as statistics indicate they are the most at risk. Where possible, use the single shot type/mode. Nail gun should be maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications. Users should be competent to use the type of nail gun they use, whether it is a single shot or bump fire type. Competence should be verified through assessment and regular reinforcement. Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn (e.g. eye and hearing protection). Timber surfaces should always be inspected for cracks or knots prior to their use. Never place finger(s) on the trigger when moving between work areas. Never use in awkward positions. Nail guns should not be held above the line of your shoulder. Never point or fire nail guns in another person’s direction. Take regular breaks from their use to address the ergonomic risks associated with their long term and repetitive use. Areas where nail guns are used should be isolated from other workers and clearly defined with physical barriers and signage. More information on the safe use of nail guns can be obtained on the WorkCover website. Source: e-use-of-nail-guns/

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White Card Update: Dangers of Nail Gun Use