Do you practice safety awareness when using your tools? Most job related accidents can be avoided, if you take the proper measures to ensure safety on the job site.
For a 58 year-old carpenter living in Minnesota, a simple mistake almost cost his life, when he accidentally fired a 3-1/2” galvanized framing nail directly into his heart. While building a deck, the man’s framing nailer slipped out of his hands. When he caught hold of it, hand still on the trigger, the gun’s nose bumped against his chest and fired directly into his heart. Thankfully, the nail missed his main arteries by millimeters, and he survived the ordeal after surgery, avoiding a lethal scenario. You can read the entire story from Vice Magazine here.
The nail was a lucky miss, but let’s take a look at how this accident could have been avoided. In this example, a simple error could have completely altered the outcome, if the man had removed his hand from the trigger. Even bump action guns still require a suppressed trigger to fire, a safety feature most manufacturers include on their tools. If you feel as if you are going to loose hold of your nail gun or other tool, always take your hand off the trigger. Worst case, a broken tool is better than a life-altering injury.
A factor that helped to save this man’s life – staying calm and avoiding panic. Panic increases blood flow, which can increase bleeding from open wounds. In this example where a heart was pierced, panicking could have further reduced his ability to breath, leading to hyperventilation. Staying calm and contacting emergency medical services immediately will improve chances of survival, in life threatening situations. Treat for shock while help is on its way.
- Start by knowing your tool and how it functions. Read the owner’s manual and look at warnings listed by the manufacturer.
- Wear the appropriate safety gear for your job site. Safety glasses should always be worn, regardless of the project. Depending on your line of work, a hardhat, hearing protection, harness or gloves might also be required.
- ALWAYS keep your tool pointed away from yourself and anyone else, especially when activated. When in doubt, treat your nail gun as you would treat any other firearm.
- Don’t use a tool that is not functioning properly. Have any broken or damaged tool serviced before trying to use.
- Do not try to drive fasteners on top of other fasteners. This can lead to misfire or backfire – resulting in injury.
There's no guarantee that injury will not occur when handling your tools – on and off the job site – but practicing safety measures, such as the ones mentioned above, will increase your odds of avoiding injury and staying safe.
~ The Nail Gun Depot Team