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The Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Gun Safety featured image

The Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Gun Safety

A nail gun is a type of power tool used every day on construction sites across the United States of America in place of traditional hammers. Nail guns are preferred over traditional hammers because they’re powerful, easy to operate, and boost productivity on jobsites. Unfortunately, they also cause tens of thousands of painful injuries each year. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nail guns are responsible for an estimated 37,000 emergency rooms visit each year, with the most common injury being puncture wounds to the hands and fingers. 

Other injuries caused by nail gun usage include electrical burns, noise-induced hearing difficulties, ocular trauma, and more. To reduce the risk of injury from nail guns, it’s important to communicate with your workers about nail gun safety and prevention. To assist you with this process, we have provided a comprehensive list of the do’s and don’ts of nail guns. If you need any further assistance with nail gun safety compliance, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Tennessee OSHA attorneys.  

Related: Tips for Nail Gun Safety

The Do’s

  • Understand the various trigger mechanisms of nail guns, including the full sequential trigger and the contact trigger.
  • Provide safety training to all workers regarding the causes of nail gun injuries and the steps to mitigate them.
  • Use the full sequential trigger to reduce the risk of double fires and unintentional nail discharge.
  • Check power sources and tools prior to operating to ensure they are in proper working order.
  • Wear the appropriate safety gear when using a nail gun, including hard shoes, hard hats, earmuffs, and safety goggles.
  • Keep your hands at least twelve inches away from the nailing point at all times.
  • If work must be performed on ladders, maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times to prevent falls. 

Related: Understanding the Various Types of Nail Gun Triggers

The Don’ts

  • Never bypass, tamper, or otherwise interfere with the safety features of the nail gun. 
  • Encourage your workers to keep their fingers off the trigger when holding a nail gun. 
  • Never lower the nail gun from above.
  • Never drag the tool by the hose, as it may get caught. 
  • If the nail gun hose gets caught on something, don’t pull the hose. 
  • Fail to use compressed gas instead of bottle gas when using pneumatic nail guns.
  • Don’t use your non-dominant hand when handling the nail gun.
  • If you have to put a nail somewhere in a difficult position, use a hammer rather than a nail gun. 


Hopefully, by using full sequential trigger nail guns, establishing proper nail gun procedures, providing adequate training, and encouraging reporting and discussion of all nail gun injuries and close calls, you can reduce the risk for unintentional injuries associated with nail gun use. If you need any further assistance regarding compliance assistance, training, or understanding OSHA regulations, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our OSHA attorneys. All of our attorneys have years of experience in the industry handling OSHA rules and regulations and would be more than happy to assist. 

If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.