If there is one tool you can find on most California construction sites, it is the nail gun, especially in residential construction. Nail gun incidents are not in the list of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) "fatal four" construction worker's accidents, which includes falls, electrocutions, struck by objects and caught-in/between. However, use of a nail guns is the cause of a large number of construction workers' accidents.
Here are some quick facts regarding use of nail guns in the construction industry.
-- Two out of five apprentice residential construction workers or carpenters reported one or more nail gun injuries inside a four-year period of training.
-- Construction workers' accidents involving nail guns account for an estimated 37,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms on an annual basis.
-- Serious or severe nail gun accidents have caused brain damage, paralysis, blindness, fractures and even death.
-- A quarter of the reported nail gun injuries resulted in structural damage to workers' nerves, tendons, bones and joints.
Research indicates that nail gun accidents happen for several reasons. Examples include unintentionally firing a second nail or double firing, accidentally turning off the nail gun's safety switch, tissue penetration through a piece of lumber and ignoring safety mechanisms. Many of these injuries involve the triggering mechanism.
As you might imagine, many injuries caused by a nail gun are simply accidents. However, other factors may be present in some of these incidents including nail gun defects, employer pressure to bypass safety measures and faulty personal protective equipment. Anytime these factors contribute to construction workers' accidents, the victim may be entitled to seek recompense. A personal injury attorney can help these victims navigate the California legal system, including referring the employee to a qualified experienced workers' compensation applicant's attorney.
Source: OSHA.gov, "Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors," accessed March 28, 2017