The Most Common Nail Gun Injuries And How To Prevent Them?

If you deal with power equipment, especially a nail gun, you’ve probably had a close call with injury. Every year, nail guns cause more than 37,000 injuries, many of which are severe.

However, most of these injuries are preventable with proper safety precautions.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of nail gun injuries and how can one save himself from such incidents.

Causes Of Nail Gun Injuries

A nail gun’s maximum speed at which it throws a three-inch nail is one hundred miles per hour. Consider how quick it is. It is comparable to a deadly weapon that shoots nails instead of bullets. Just think what would happen if it had hit our body.

Therefore, we must take some precautions if we wish to shield ourselves from the potential harm that a nail gun could cause. To do it, we must first comprehend the causes.

Injury caused by a nail gun can result from a variety of reasons. The usage of the tool without the required safety precautions is one of the most frequent causes among those. Other causes can include –

  • Improper use of nail guns is a major cause of injuries and double fire is one example of it. Applying a bit of extra pressure on the trigger by the user may result in a double fire. According to NIOSH, double fire is a common phenomenon among new workers. If the worker squeezes and holds the trigger for a few more seconds, a second fire may start. And most of the time, workers are not prepared for a second unintended incident, which may cause injuries.
  • Another illustration of improper nail gun usage is holding the trigger with one finger when not in use and unintentionally pressing the gun’s point into something or someone.
  • Using bump firing mode without having expertise may cause nail gun injuries. It is difficult to control the nail gun when you set the bump fire mode. In this mode, the nail gun shoots nails whenever it touches any surface which increases the chance of missed fire.
  • Injuries could result from the nail penetrating through the lumber. If the worker uses one hand to hold the timber while using the other to drive nails, the nail may strike his free hand if it misses the wood or pierces through it.
  • The use of malfunctioning nail guns or air compressors may cause injuries.
  • If the nail hit on any hard objects and ricochets, it may cause injuries.
  • Nail in odd situations when it is more difficult to manage the tool and its recoil is also a cause of nail gun injury.
  • The risk of injury increases if the user is not wearing the recommended safety gear, such as gloves, earplugs, and eye protection.
  • Injuries can also occur if the nails are not the correct size or if the equipment is not properly maintained.
  • Bypassing the safety mechanism of the nail gun is another reason.

Read Also: How to use a nail gun safely.

Type Of Injuries And Their Severity

There are two main types of nail gun injuries: puncture wounds and crush injuries. Puncture wounds occur when the nail pierces the skin. Crush injuries occur when the force of the nail driving into the wood crushes the tissue underneath.

Puncture wounds are the most common type of nail gun injury. They can be very serious, especially if the nail hit an artery. Puncture wounds also lead to structural damage to tendons, joints, and bones. It also may injure our eyes, legs, knee, thigh, feet, and toes. Fatal nail gun wounds have caused paralysis, blindness, brain damage, fractured bones, and death. To prevent puncture wounds, always keep the muzzle of the gun pointed away from your body. Use the safety tip to prevent the nail from firing if the gun is accidentally triggered.

Crush injuries are less common, but they can be just as serious. To prevent crush injuries, always keep your fingers away from the point of contact between the gun and the wood. Use gloves to protect your hands.

Read Also: How To Toenail With A Framing Nailer

Steps For Preventing Nail Gun Injuries

Nail gun injuries are a serious problem in the construction industry. Every year, thousands of workers are injured by nail guns, and many of these injuries are severe. Nail gun injuries can be prevented by following some simple safety guidelines.

First, always wear eye protection when using a nail gun. Flying nails can cause serious eye injuries, so it is important to wear goggles or a face shield.

Second, never point the nail gun at anyone, even if you are joking around. Nail guns can fire nails unexpectedly, and even a small nail can cause serious injury or even death.

Third, always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Nail guns can have a long trigger travel, so it is important to make sure that your finger is not on the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Fourth, use a sequential trigger as it only shoots after the tip is pressed against the surface and pulls the trigger. Contact trigger always ready to shoot ever in rest. By using the sequential trigger, you may also avoid double firing or unintentional discharge of nails.

Fifth, maintain a proper working environment for footing and balancing while nailing by keeping the work space clean and litter-free.

Sixth, when working at heights, be sure there is no one below you or on the other side of you when you are nailing any wall boards.

Finally, always be aware of your surroundings and make sure that there are no people or pets nearby when you are using a nail gun. Use nails that are the right size and take proper care of your instruments. If necessary, receive the necessary training before beginning to nail.

Whether the harm is minor or severe, NIOSH advised filing reports, discussing the incidents with colleagues, and seeking medical attention. I believe, it will significantly contribute to reducing such incidents in the future.

Read Also: 9 Common Nail Gun Mistakes

Here are some tips to help you stay safe when using a nail gun:

  • Read the manufacturer’s safety instructions before using the nail gun.
  • Wear eye protection when operating a nail gun.
  • Keep your fingers away from the trigger when not firing.
  • Use the safety features on the nail gun.
  • Never point the nail gun at anyone.
  • Never use the faulty or malfunctioning nail gun.
  • Check the hardness of the object before shooting to prevent ricocheting the nail.
  • Never go over the manufacturer’s specified air pressure limit.
  • Always turn off the power before making repairs, unjamming, or leaving the tool alone.

By following these simple safety tips, I hope you can help prevent a serious accident.


In summary, using nail guns and other power tools is risky. You need to pay attention to the safety precautions and know how to use tools correctly. For the best safety results, always wear protective gear, have mechanical safety checks done regularly, and use tools only for their intended purpose.

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Tushar Mirror

Toolsmirror is a group of co-fighters led by Engr. Tushar is dedicated to gathering information, analyzing & test various items, and releasing reviews on various woodwork and outdoor tools. Our mission is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date ideas and approaches, as well as reveal the genuine features that will assist them in selecting the best items for their professions and DIY projects.

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