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Powder-Actuated Tools Safety Talk

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Employees who work with powder-actuated tools should treat them as a loaded gun. They share many commonalities with guns and can cause severe injury and death when used improperly. When used appropriately they make quick work of otherwise difficult tasks such as driving a nail, stud, etc. into solid base materials such as concrete and steel.

General Tool Safety:

  • Always inspect the tool before use and do not use it if it is not in proper working order.
  • Always unload the tool when not in use.
  • Test the tool before loading it for the task.
  • Tools are only to be loaded directly before firing.
  • Ensure anyone in the area is aware of the tool that will be used, standing at a safe distance and location, as well as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • These tools will not be used in a flammable or explosive area.
  • Ensure differing loads are sorted and not stored in the same container or pouch.
  • Keep all guarding and shields in place.
  • The user should always be stabilized on a solid surface when using the tool.

Safe Use of the Tool:

  • Only use the proper nails, fasteners, etc. needed for the material to avoid rebounding.
  • Wear all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) while using the tool. This could include:
    • Safety glasses
    • Hearing Protection
  • Keep the barrel pointed at the working target only and ensure it cannot completely penetrate the material and go through hitting something on the other side.
  • Always keep the tool vertical to the work surface when in use.

Maintaining and Storage:

  • Repair and clean the tool following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Remove nails and cartridges before cleaning.
  • Keep ventilation openings clean and free of debris.
  • Do not maintain or clean the tool while it is hot.

Each employee who uses a powder-actuated tool must be trained in the safe use, loading, unloading, and care.

Extra caution should be used with working with powder-actuated tools. They should be handled with care and never pointed in the direction of the user or another person.



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.

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