WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- Nail guns used in construction are easy to operate and boost productivity but cause some 37,000 U.S. hospital emergency room visits each year, officials say.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nail gun injuries are common -- one study found 2-in-5 U.S. 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, OSHA said.
"Research has identified that the risk of a nail gun injury is twice as high when using a multishot contact trigger as when using a single-shot sequential trigger nailer," OSHA said.
"People who operate nail guns are not the only ones at risk of injury. Bystanders -- most often co-workers -- represent almost 12 percent of all who are injured by nail guns."
Studies show that the use of nail guns equipped with sequential triggers can reduce injuries by half, OSHA said.
"If you do not work in the construction industry, and you are working on a small project, consider using a hammer," OSHA said.
"If you do use a nail gun, read the owners manual from cover to cover to understand its operation. Comply with all recommendations regarding safe work practices. Always wear protective equipment including safety glasses, ear protection and heavy work gloves."