Preventing nail gun injuries during framing: fact sheet

Incidents have occurred with nail guns in either the ‘one-shot’ mode or ‘bump-fire’ mode, the risk is greatly increased in the ‘bump-fire’ mode.In ‘bump-fire’ mode, the nail gun will automatically fire if the trigger of the nail gun is depressed and the contact tip of the gun is pushed against an object.

What is the problem?

There have been a number of serious incidents involving nail guns during framing works, including:

  • unintentional discharges (e.g. while carrying or moving with the gun, repositioning the gun at the work face, using the gun in a restricted space, putting the gun down)
  • nails ricocheting after striking other nails when multiple nails are being fired into the same area at a rapid rate

Although these incidents have occurred with nail guns in either the ‘one-shot’ mode or ‘bump-fire’ mode, the risk is greatly increased in the ‘bump-fire’ mode.

In ‘bump-fire’ mode, the nail gun will automatically fire if the trigger of the nail gun is depressed and the contact tip of the gun is pushed against an object.

What are the risks?

Workers have been shot and seriously injured when guns have automatically fired while the trigger of the gun was held depressed and the contact tip of the gun touched:

  • their body
  • an object or the ground and the nail ricocheted
  • an existing nail head that caused the nail to ricochet

What is a solution to the problem?

During framing works, nail guns should be in ‘one-shot’ mode.

Inexperienced and young workers should not use nail guns in ‘bump-fire’ mode under any circumstances.

If practicable, consider disabling the ‘bump-fire’ mode on existing guns.

If selecting new nail guns for framing work, purchasers should consider tools that don’t have the multi-mode function.

Acts and Regulations

Nail guns Section 19 WHS Act, clause 206 WHS Regulation Proper use, clause 208 WHS regulation guarding, also see Australian Standard 4024 guarding.

SW08377 0816

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