Approximately 4-percent of all workers’ compensation claims in the U.S. each year are a result of injuries to workers caused by nail gun accidents, according to a new study out of the State of Washington. Among those workers injured by a nail gun last year, as many as 25-percent involved paid lost work time.
As the study points out, the use of pneumatic nail guns dramatically increases worker productivity. But according to workplace safety experts who conducted the study, the use of this powerful tool does not come without risk of bodily harm if the equipment is not used properly or maintained in proper working order.
According to the study, the hands and fingers were the most commonly injured parts of the body, with anywhere from 80 to 89 percent of all injuries from nail guns being puncture wounds to the hands and fingers from the nails. It’s a common construction accident lawsuit in courtrooms.
The incidence of nail gun accidents at residential construction sites, which require the use of more wood and significantly more carpenters to build homes vs. what’s needed at a worksite to build an office building, accounts for the vast majority of nail gun injuries at the workplace. In fact, more than 70 percent of all nail gun injuries at residential worksites occur during the wood framing and sheathing stage of construction.
“Any heavy machinery used in construction work can be dangerous if workers, and their employers, do not take proper safety precautions,” Howard Raphaelson said. Mr. Raphaelson is a partner in the New York nail gun accident law firm of Raphaelson & Levine.
“Just think about what a nail gun is designed to do,” Raphaelson added. “These powerful machines are able to drive pointy pieces of steel through the hardest surfaces, even concrete and steel. Imagine the damage these devices can do to the soft tissue and bones of a worker’s body?”
Approximately 69 percent of puncture injuries caused by nail guns are due to what the Home Builders Association of America calls: “Inadvertent gun discharge, or misfire, most of which, according to the Association, are preventable by the use of sequential triggers. “Again,” Raphaelson explained, “in all situations involving the use of potentially dangerous power tools, like nail guns, the training and education of workers are vitally important components to prevent serious injury, or worse.”