If you’ve ever swung a hammer all day to complete a woodworking project, a nail gun will easily become your favorite power tool when you discover how easy you can sink nails with it without even breaking a sweat.
However, don’t get fooled into thinking that you can get away with anything while using the tool.
Just like it quickly became your favorite power tool because of the ease of use, it can become your least favorite power tool pretty quickly as well, if care is not taken.
When making use of power tools, you need to afford them a measure of respect, because failure to do so can lead to disaster.
A nail gun is like every other power tool you own. It needs to be respected. Respecting it means adhering to all safety measures put in place by the manufacturer and by safety and health administrations like OSHA.
Provide and engage in training
If you’re a contractor or employer and you have workers (especially new workers) working for you, make sure to provide necessary training on how to use the nail gun before allowing any worker to handle the tool.
Training new workers will educate workers on the type of nailer to use and how to use it safely. Also, make sure everyone is involved in the training. It should not be meant for new workers only, but also seasoned veterans who are already experienced in the trade.
Involving old or experience workers will remind them of the dangers of abusing the tool, ensuring that they continue following all safety procedures when handling the tool.
Choose the right firing mode
There are two firing modes or triggers for firing nailers. They are sequential and bump firing modes. Among the two, the sequential trigger is the safest, although it takes more time to fire a nail using this mode when compared to the other firing modes.
Using the sequential trigger requires the user to repeat certain steps every time before a nail can be fired. To fire a nail, the user have to depress the contact tip, and pull the trigger. One nail will be fired when that is done. Pulling the trigger again at that state will not fire another nail.
To fire another nail, the compressed contact tip has to be release by lifting the nailer of the work surface, depressing it again on the surface then pulling the trigger again. It’s slower, but it’s safer, especially for workers or employees who are not very experienced yet.
Disconnect the tool from compressor when not in use
For a pneumatic nailer to work, it has to be connected to an air compressor which provides the compressed air pressure for the nailer to fire. The nailer cannot fire without being connected to the air compressor.
This knowledge can be used to your advantage to keep the jobsite safe with a nail gun around. If the nailer is not in use, disconnect it right away from the air compressor. You should never leave it lying around connected to the air compressor.
This will ensure that any accidental pull of the trigger by an unsuspecting person or even you does not cause unnecessary damage to anyone.
Also, always disconnect the nailer from the air compressor if you have to clear jams from the nailer. You should never try to clear jams with the compressor attached. That will be very dangerous to you and other people around you.
Before clearing jams, disconnect the nailer from the air compressor, then you can open the nailer neck/tip to clear the jammed nail. You can reconnect the air compressor after the jam is cleared and you’re ready to work again.
Report any injuries
Reporting any injury sustained in the jobsite is very important. First of all, to get medical attention. Second of all, which is equally very important is to educate others in the construction site about the cause of the injury and learn how to avoid a similar situation.
So, any worker who gets injured while using a nail gun should always report the injury to his employer or the contractor. If possible, he should come forward as well to narrate the incident to the rest of the workers so that they can learn and benefit from it. Then other workers won’t have to repeat the same mistake that caused that injury.
Establish and enforce safety procedures for using a nail gun in the job site
There should be procedures for using any tool in the jobsite, especially dangerous ones like the nail guns. These procedures should be established and enforced to make the jobsite safe for everyone.
Some of these procedures include making sure the nail guns in the construction site are regularly serviced, are in good shape or working condition. If not they should be removed from service immediately.
Making sure nail gun manuals and instruction from the manufacturer are read and followed by every worker handling the nail gun.
Always disconnecting the nail gun from the compressor, when the nail gun is not in use, when clearing jammed nails from it, or when passing the nailer to a colleague.
Never climbing up or down a ladder with the nailer still connected to the compressor.
These are just some of the procedures for working with a nailer that must be enforced in every construction site making use of these tools.
Provide safety equipment
If you’re a contractor or an employer, you must provide personal protection equipment for your workers. This is one of the most important step to take if you’re using any power tools in your jobsite.
So, provide your workers with hearing protection because some nail guns can be loud. Steel toe safety boots to protect the feet and toes and high impact safety glasses to protect the eyes.
Providing these equipment can go a long way to protect your workers from many of the possible injuries that may occur in the jobsite.
Every power tool can cause serious injury if the proper safety instructions for its operation is not followed diligently. If you want to use any nailer whether pneumatic or cordless safely, you need to follow diligently, the simple and necessary safety tips which have been outlined in this article.