Nail Gun Safety
"Nail guns are powerful.... They are responsible for an estimated 37,000 emergency room visits each year — 68% of these involve workers."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Nail guns are used every day on many construction jobs. They boost productivity but also cause tens of thousands of serious injuries each year. Nail gun injuries are common - one study found that 2 out of 5 residential carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury over a four-year period. Injuries resulting from use of nail guns hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool-related injury. When they do occur, these injuries are often not reported or given proper medical treatment. Research has identified that the risk of a nail gun injury is twice as high when using a multi-shot contact trigger as when using a single-shot sequential trigger nailer.
Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors (PDF* | EPUB** | MOBI**). OSHA Publication 3459, (2011).
Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The booklet illustrates the potential risks of traumatic injury using nail guns and how these risks can be reduced.
Nail Gun Safety: The Facts. The Duke University and Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). Provides information to prevent worker injuries from nail guns as well as nail gun research and training articles.
Outreach Training Program. OSHA.
- Construction Focus Four: Struck-By Hazards Student Handouts (PDF*). Provides a hazard alert handout on nail gun safety.
Toolbox Talk: Hammer Home Nail Gun Safety. Nation's Building News, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Provides quick tips for using nail guns safely.
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- 1926 Subpart E, Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment.
- 1926 Subpart I, Tools - Hand and Power.
- 1926.302, Power-operated hand tools.
Letters of Interpretation
- 1926 Subpart I, Tools - Hand and Power
- Use of quick-disconnect on pneumatic power tools; §1926.302(b)(1). (November 14, 2003).
- Search all available Letters of Interpretation for 1926.302, Power-operated hand tools.
Nailing Down the Need for Nail Gun Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nail-Gun Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments --- United States, 2001--2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 56(14);329-332, (April 13, 2007).
Woodworking. OSHA eTool. Contains a section on handheld nail/stapling guns.
Construction - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Provides a link to personal protective equipment publication, fact sheet, and quickcard.
- Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors (PDF* | EPUB** | MOBI**). OSHA Publication 3459, (2011). Also available in Spanish (PDF* | EPUB** | MOBI**).
- Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety. NIOSH Publication Number 2013-149, (June 2013).
- Nail Gun Safety: The Facts. The Duke University and Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).
- OSHA provides direction for inspecting cranes and derricks on construction worksites. OSHA News Release, (October 23, 2014).
- U.S. Labor Department and Federal Communications Commission announce working group to prevent fatalities in telecommunications industry. OSHA News Release, (October 14, 2014).
- OSHA extends compliance date for crane operator certification requirements. OSHA News Release, (September 25, 2014).
- OSHA issues new directive to keep communication tower workers safe. OSHA News Release, (July 24, 2014).
- Recent fatalities serve as a reminder to protect workers from demolition hazards. OSHA News Release, (July 10, 2014).
- Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard Sub Part V. OSHA Federal Register, (April 11, 2014).
- Construction Industry Digest (PDF*). OSHA Publication 2202-09R, (2014).
- Hand and Power Tools. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.
**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.Back to Top