Nailing the Basics of Power Tool Safety - Using Pneumatic Nail and Stapling Tools Safely

Just days ago there were news reports of an Australian woman accidentally
shooting herself in the head with a nail gun. Thankfully she survived the
injury, however the incident is a solemn reminder of the hazards of using
powerful nailing and stapling tools on the job or at home.

Pneumatic nail and stapling tools are powered by compressed air. They were
first used in industry, however they are increasingly being used in home
environments and by hobby builders. The biggest advantage to using them is they
enable you to rapidly fire nails and staples into wood repeatedly.

Pneumatic nail guns and stapling tools are extremely efficient and take hours
off a project completion timeline, but they can also be extremely dangerous if
the user does not know how to properly use them. You should know the basic
safety guidelines before starting the task at hand.

General safety tips
There are several general safety principles that you should always follow when
using a pneumatic nailing or stapling tool. First and foremost, only
experienced and trained people should operate the tools. If you are unqualified
and given a task that requires the use of either of these tools, inform your
supervisor immediately in order to receive the proper training.

When using a pneumatic nailing or stapling tool be sure to always wear proper
safety equipment, such as safety glasses, goggles or a face shield. And because
many tools can be extremely loud, use hearing protection where necessary. Avoid
creating trip hazards by leaving hoses laid across walkways or curled underfoot.

You should handle the tool at all times as if it is loaded with fasteners
(nails, staples, etc.).

Inspect before you connect
Before using any air pressure tool, you should inspect it before connecting it
to the air supply:

  • Check the tool safety mechanisms.

  • Tighten all screws and cylinder caps securely.

  • Check for correct air supply and pressure.

  • Check that the tool is correctly and securely connected to the air supply
    hose, in good working order and has a fully operating safety mechanism before

  • Equip tools with a work-contacting element that limits the contact area to
    one that is as small as practical.

  • Make sure the mechanical linkage between the work-contracting element and
    trigger is enclosed.

When not in use and during cleaning or adjustment, disconnect the tool from the
air supply. If a blockage occurs, be sure to push the trigger to exhaust all
air from the tool before clearing the blockage.

Remember to only use fasteners recommended by the manufacturer and permit only
properly trained people to carry out tool maintenance.

What to avoid

  • Do not point the tool toward yourself or anyone else - whether it contains
    fasteners or not.

  • Do not operate at a pressure above the manufacturer's rating.

  • Do not push the trigger unless the nose piece of the tool is directed onto a
    safe work surface.

  • Do not load a tool with nails or staples while the trigger is depressed.

  • Do not overreach - always keep proper footing and balance when using the

  • Do not use compressed air to blow debris or to clean dirt from your clothes
    or work surface.

  • Do not carry a pneumatic tool by its hose.

Before using a mechanical tool, make sure you are properly trained on its use
and informed about any potential hazards. It is best to err on the side of
caution, so if you feel you are not qualified to use that tool, inform your
supervisor. Without proper safety precautions, using powerful tools can have
serious consequences and cause you or someone else harm.

Further Information: - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety