Brad nailer is one of the most common tools that you will find in the carpentry industry among other applications. This is due to the fact that it saves you a couple of hours daily. However, it is a power tool and just like other power tools, it is very dangerous especially when it is not used properly.
Thousands of injuries are reported each year as a result of improper use of these tools. Most of these injuries are to the fingers and hands; this is due to the fact they are the ones in direct contact with the tool most of the time. Other injuries includes; dislocated joints, broken bones, structural damages to the nerves and other minor injuries to various parts of the body.
Although accidents are unpredictable, some basic safety training will help avert them and help you keep safe while using these tools.
As you intend to use this powerful tool in your next project, there are some major risks to keep in mind. These are;
- Brad nailer has so much power such that they can drive nails at distance of about 150 feet in just a second. That’s power is enough to break a bone or to drive a nail through your skull or hand. This is why it is dangerous to point the nailer at yourself or someone else while working.
- Automatic brad nailers have the ability to “double fire”. This happens when you don’t remove your fingers off the trigger and recoils happen which forces the nailer down making it drive another nail. This unplanned move may result to injury if it finds you on the way. Accidents can also happen when you are moving these automatic brad nailers from one place to another with you finger on the trigger as they can go off any time hence the importance of keeping your finger off the trigger.
- We have two types of brad nailers; electric nailers that use electricity to operate and the pneumatic brad nailers which uses an air compressor to operate. For the pneumatic nailers, loosely or improperly connected air hose may lead to emission of air under pressure leading to explosions and accidental fires especially when used near a fireplace.
- Another common risk is when a nail hits a hard place and it bounces back changing its direction which can hit you or any other person within the vicinity. This happens when the nail hits surfaces such as metal framing or wood knots.
- Missing the working surface makes the discharged nail become airborne and it can strike anything on its way. This normally happen when for instance when you are nailing near the edge of the surface which sometimes is hard to shoot accurately.
- Complete nail penetration where a nail cuts through the working place exiting to the other side especially when the surface is not thick enough.
- Nailing in awkward positions such as nailing above your shoulder level or toe nailing have seen the number of injuries increase as you may not be in full control.
- Brad nailers especially the ones powered by an air compressor emits a lot of noise,especially when used in tight place which can cause hearing impairment after prolonged exposure.
- The operator may experience some vibrations as these nailers generate some mechanical vibrations while in operation.
- Assumptions that all brad nailers operate in the same way could put you at a great risk as different types have different operating mechanism; as such unfamiliarity with a specific type is a danger in itself.
- Placement of working items and other objects such as electrical cord inappropriately in the working area can result in a trip hazard.
- Pilling waste materials and failure to clean up spillages could result in a slip hazard.
Safety Measures for Brad Nailers
- Instead of an automatic trigger, choose a sequential trigger which only shoots a nail when directed to do so and in a certain order. A sequential trigger demands that the user should first direct the safety contact tip onto the working area which will be followed by pulling the trigger to drive a nail. For you to discharge the second nail, you have to repeat the whole process which means that there will be no chances for “double firing”.
- Better still always keep your finger off the trigger while not use or when carrying the nailer from one place to the other.
- Ensure that no part of your body gets in the way of the brad nailer during operation as well as during maintenance. Keep your hands off the nail ejection point and the area to be nailed.
- Ensure that you have with you the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) e.g. gloves, eye protection, earplugs any time that you will be operating the equipment.
- Ensure that the brad nailer is positioned against the working surface, not fired in any other direction.
- Ensure that the air hose is in condition, properly fastened and any faulty air hose should be replaced immediately. Ensure that it is tight and use the recommended tape to prevent any leaking.
- If possible, avoid continuous use and take some breaks in between to give the equipment some time to cool down which will help to minimize vibrations as well as improve your level of concentration.
- Strictly adhere to the operating instructions and specifications of the specific model as provided by the manufacturer in the user manual.
- Conduct a regular maintenance and inspection of the brad nailers and other associated equipment to ensure smooth operation and that they are in good condition at all times.
- Ensure a regular clean-up exercise and proper organization of equipment in the working area to minimize trips and falls hazards.
- Alert people that there is a nailing operation going on by putting up a signage so that they can keep off the place.
- If there are employees involved always train them on the proper usage of the equipment and the hazard involved. Teach them; i) How to load the brad nailer, ii) How connect and operate the air compressor, iii) How to press the trigger, iv) How to approach different working surfaces such as hardwood surfaces, v) How to clear jammed nails, vi) How to clear jammed nails.
- Always remember to disconnect the air supply after use or during breaks.
No one likes to be injured. Brad nailers can cause painful injuries with some being fatal. With the increase use of this equipment, more and more injuries are being reported. However, these injuries can be avoided if all the involved parties play their part. The manufacturers have made some considerable improvements to the brad nailer technology which has seen the number of accidents drop significantly.
As an individual, you should make a point to practice these safety guidelines in your work site for your own safety and that of other users.