CSM logo - horizontal

Nail gun safety talk

Nail gun safety talk

Nail guns are increasingly replacing hammers in roofing construction. They are easy to use and offer increased efficiency for nailing tasks. However, nail guns are responsible for a multitude of emergency room visits annually.

Puncture wounds to the hands and fingers are the most common types of injuries, but more serious injuries and even fatalities can occur.

Nail gun injuries often occur when:

  • Working too fast
  • Habitually squeezing the trigger while the gun is not in use
  • Unintentionally discharging a nail from double firing
  • Nail penetration through lumber
  • Nail ricochet after striking a hard surface
  • Miss the intended target
  • Awkward-position nailing
  • Bypassing or disabling safety mechanisms

Implement the following controls to prevent nail gun injuries:

  • Engineering Controls: Use full sequential trigger nail guns, this type only fires a nail when the safety contact tip is engaged, followed by squeezing the trigger
  • Administrative Controls: always follow manufacturers’ guidelines for the tool’s intended purpose. Report and discuss injuries and near misses

Establish nail gun work procedures, examples include:

  • Setting up the job site layout so that workers are spread out and not in their coworkers’ line of fire
  • Before performing work, inspect the nail gun it is in good working condition. Remove broken or malfunctioning nail guns and tag them as “out of service”
  • Do not bypass or disable safety mechanisms such as removing the spring from the safety contact tip, which
    makes an unintended discharge more likely
  • Inspect lumber surfaces before nailing. Look for knots, nails, straps, hangers, etc. that could
    cause recoil or ricochet.


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

Meet Our Safety Team

Related Safety Resources