On September 21, 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a free booklet entitled “Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors.” The guide recommends using nail guns with “full sequential triggers” – nail guns that fire a nail only when, first, the contact tip is pressed against a surface and, second, the trigger is pulled. The guide cites studies showing nail guns with full sequential triggers are less likely to be involved in accidents than guns with other types of firing mechanisms called “contact triggers.” This guide also gives advice concerning training employees to use specific nail gun models; providing workers with personal protective equipment, including safety shoes, hardhats, high-impact eye protection, and hearing protection; keeping manuals for nail guns at work sites; and encouraging workers to keep their fingers off the trigger when holding or carrying a gun.
The guide gives advice and recommendations, but is not an OSHA standard. The guide itself recites the disclaimer that, “This guidance document is not a standard, and it creates no legal obligations.” Nonetheless, employers using nail guns would be well advised to review the nail gun safety guide.
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NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.