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Nail guns

Safety Alert
7 January 2016

A bump fire or bounce fire nail gun allows nails to be driven by holding the trigger in the firing position and pressing the barrel or muzzle against the work piece.

Operators can get into the dangerous habit of carrying the nail gun with the trigger depressed. If the muzzle bumps onto an object, the nail gun may inadvertently discharge.

This has resulted in operators discharging nails into their legs, hands and other body parts. Nails can also inadvertently ricochet around the work area, with the risk of hitting and injuring others.

A nail gun with sequential (only) operation is much safer, where the muzzle must be held against a work piece, followed by the deliberate pressing of the trigger before a nail is discharged.

If the trigger is pressed first and the muzzle is bumped or held against the work piece, the gun will not fire.

For some high volume production and manufacturing jobs, bump fire nail guns may be in use to help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries e.g. strains and sprains.

In such cases, nail guns in the bump fire mode should be used with the aid of specially laid out work areas and jigs to hold the work pieces.

This will reduce the need for an operator’s hands and legs to be near the job while nailing is carried out.

Risk control measures

  • Replace bump fire nail guns with sequential (only) firing nail guns, wherever possible.
  • Avoid the use of bump fire nail guns, including those with a switchable trigger mechanism, where the operator is required to climb ladders or other elevated areas with a loaded nail gun.
  • Regularly check and maintain nail guns to ensure correct operation of the actuation mechanism.
  • Train workers in the safe use and operation of nail guns.
  • Place signage appropriately to warn that a nailing tool is in use.
  • Exclude other workers from the area where the nail gun is being used, wherever possible.
  • If there are other people within the area where nail guns are being operated, they should wear or be issued with eye protection, hearing protection and additional personal protective equipment as specified in the operator’s manual and required by the worksite rules.
Disclaimer: While care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information in this publication, at the time of reading it may not be sufficiently accurate, current or complete to suit your individual needs. Reliance on the information in this publication is at your own risk. SafeWork SA accepts no liability for any loss resulting from your reliance on it. To best meet your work health and safety obligations refer to current Acts, Regulations and Approved Codes of Practice.