Pneumatic Nail Guns: Revisiting Trigger Recommendations
- James Albers (NIOSH, retired) | Brian Lowe (NIOSH) | Hester Lipscomb (Duke University) | Stephen Hudock (NIOSH) | John Dement (Duke University) | Bradley Evanoff (Washington University) | Mark Fullen (West Virginia University) | Matt Gillen (NIOSH) | Vicki Kaskutas (Washington University) | James Nolan (Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity) | Dennis Patterson (Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity) | James Platner (Center for Construction Research and Training) | Lisa Pompeii (University of Texas Health Science Center) | Ashley Schoenfisch (Duke University)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- March 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 30 - 33
- 2015. American Society of Safety Engineers
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- 25 since 2007
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•Use of a pneumatic nail gun with a sequential actuation trigger (SAT) significantly diminishes the risk for acute traumatic injury compared to use of a nail gun equipped with a contact actuation trigger (CAT).
•A theoretically based increased risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders from use of an SAT nail gun, relative to CAT, appears unlikely and remains unproven.
•Based on current knowledge, use of CAT nail guns cannot be justified as a safe alternative to SAT nail guns. The authors, who are ergonomists and occupational safety researchers, recommend the use of the SAT for all nail gun tasks in the construction industry.
Pneumatic framing nail gun use is ubiquitous throughout the modern homebuilding industry. This tool has dramatically increased framing productivity beyond what could be achieved with a hand hammer. However, the dramatic increase in productivity introduced a new injury:
You’re using a gun to do something faster, and fast isn’t safe. . . . It might be making it easier, but all around, it’s shooting projectile at a high speed to go through hard materials. It’s just dangerous to work with. (Union carpenter, St. Louis, MO).Before pneumatic nail guns were available, nail puncture injuries on a construction site typically occurred when a carpenter or other tradesperson stepped on a nail protruding from a piece of lumber. Carpenters did not accidentally drive nails into their own bodies or that of a coworker with repeated strikes from a hammer. However, such injuries became more common when pneumatic nail guns were introduced to drive nails at a high speed to go through hard materials.
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