Hand and Power Tool Safety
Nail guns: useful tool or deadly weapon?
We all know the type - the guy who does everything for himself. He’s independent and we all admire “Mr. Fix-It’s” self-reliance; but perhaps we should take our honorific shades off for a moment and consider the risks he’s posing not only to himself, but also to those around him (seriously, I’m speaking from experience here - those DIY tasks can be downright dangerous).
Before you play the role of the good wife or the helpful friend, think about the dangers you may face when you help him with his latest weekend project. We’d be willing to bet Isidro Mejia and Manuel Murillo wish they both would’ve done just that before they were each rushed to local emergency wounds for injuries sustained from a nail gun.
And the two construction workers aren’t alone. In fact, in 2005 alone,28,000 workers in the U.S. were treated for nail-gun injuries. Today, hospitals treat approximately 42,000 individuals for nail gun injuries on an annual basis. And those are only the individuals who seek treatment in emergency facilities; imagine how many people don’t make the trip to the E.R and opt for at-home or clinical treatment instead?!
The numbers seem astounding, and so are the injuries. Most victims who seek treatment suffer from embedded nails, fractured bones, and infected puncture wounds - nearly all of which result from the nail guns’ safety springs not being in place.
When this switch isn’t in place, the nail gun is in contact trip mode – meaning it shoots nails into whatever surface it comes in contact with (be it a door, a two-by-four, or a leg). That’s right – the nail gun doesn’t discriminate. It’ll fire a nail into any surface at speeds of up to 490 feet per second. Wow– nearly 500 feet per second? That’s fast! It’s no wonder so many construction workers and independent contractors use the tool to cut time and costs when working on a project. However, one must question whether the consumer or manufacturer is at fault when the quick-fire tool causes an injury. Who was the negligent party? The consumer who used the tool without taking the proper precautionary measures or the manufacturer who negligently designed the device? Regardless, the rapidity of the tool makes it easy to understand how nail gun injuries cost the U.S. an estimated $338 million for emergency treatment and rehabilitation services each year.
Though the specific injuries resulting from a nail-gun and the individual at fault for those injuries may vary, one thing remains certain: nail guns can be downright deadly. And, though taking precautionary measures won’t completely eliminate the risks of injury, they may lessen your chances of being wisked away to the E.R. mid-home improvement project.