Pneumatic tools include impact wrenches, hammers, punches and sanders. But the most commonly used air tools are pneumatic nailers and staplers. Pneumatic air guns are used on job sites every day, from construction sites and furniture manufacturers to pallet and crate builders. Because nail and staples guns are used so frequently, the rate of injuries are also high — equating to about 37,000 emergency room visits every year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). More than half of those injuries include trauma to the hands and fingers.
Pneumatic triggers are part of a gun actuation system that enables pneumatic tools, like nailers, to fire at the appropriate time. Different applications require different trigger types and each variation has specific safety considerations that must be met. It’s important to understand these different trigger types to avoid potential injury due to improper use.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) together with the Department of Labor (DOL), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released guidance that discusses the most common nail gun injuries and ways to minimize risk with appropriate trigger selection. Review the guide in its entirely here.
Proper pneumatic tool use can prevent injuries due to:
- Double fire
- Unintended nail discharge
- Nails penetrating or missing the workpiece
- Awkward position nailing
- Bypassing safety mechanisms
- Poor ergonomics
- Excessive noise dose