Case Study

Experts from GTRI's Occupational Safety and Health Program Offer Safety Tips for "Weekend Warriors"

Published: April 30, 2007

Georgia Tech provides a broad range of safety and health services to organizations in Georgia and the Southeast through its Region IV OSHA Training Institute Education Center and OSHA 21D Consultation Program.

The OSHA 21D Consultation Program provides a free, confidential, on-site consultation service for small companies (fewer than 500 employees) in Georgia that need assistance in occupational safety and health.

The OSHA Training Institute Education Center offers safety and health courses in more than 20 topics throughout Region IV, an area covering Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

For further information on these programs, contact Diane Knobloch at

Nail Gun Safetey for "Do-It-Yourselfers" 

  • Between 2001-2005, 37,000 patients were treated for injuries related to nail gun use, approximately 40 % being consumers.
  • Most common trigger is dual-action contact trip trigger, which requires manual trigger and nose contact element both be depressed for nail to discharge.
  • Users can fire dual-action contact trip rapidly if they maintain constant pressure on trigger (bump nailing), which is NOT recommended.
  • Alternate firing is with a sequential trip trigger, requiring the trigger to be released and depressed again every time you want to fire the gun, making unintentional firing less likely.
  • International Staple, Nail, and Tool Association adopted a voluntary ANSI standard recommending manufacturers install sequential trip triggers on certain types of nail guns before distribution, however contact-trip triggers can continue to be sold with nail guns as an option.
  • Some designs launch nails at speeds reaching 1,400 feet per second!.

Duke Medical News
Consumer Nail Gun Injuries Spike


  • Read and follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Inspect the tool and compressed air system (compressors, hoses, fittings) before using to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Select the proper trigger system—sequential action is recommended.
  • Wear the proper personal protection equipment (PPE), starting with ANSI Z87 safety glasses and hearing protection. Feet, hands and head may also need protection depending on the job.
  • Instruct others in the area to wear the same level of personal protective equipment.
  • Disconnect the power and engage the safety whenever moving, unjamming, or otherwise servicing the gun.
  • Keep hands and feet away from the area being fastened.
  • Keep gun unloaded when not in use; however, always assume the gun is loaded when handling!
  • Keep the work area clean to avoid trip hazards.


  • Operate equipment while impaired, under the influence of alcohol or medication.
  • Operate equipment if distracted, tired, upset or otherwise not focused.
  • Point the nail gun at anyone or yourself.
  • Maintain constant pressure on the trigger.
  • Operate gun near children or pets.
  • Modify the tool, such as disengaging the safety spring.
  • Fire the gun into the air, near edges or corners of wood, or into lightweight or brittle material.
  • Fire into knots or area that might be extremely hard.
  • Exceed maximum recommended air pressure.

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