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Tips for safely using an air nailer on the job

In many ways, an air nailer -- or a nail gun -- is one of the most dangerous tools on any job site. Though it does have built-in safety features, any misuse can cause catastrophic injuries.

That said, nail guns have revolutionized the construction industry. They allow crews to work at incredibly fast rates and get jobs done far more efficiently than they could with hand tools. Anyone who works construction will spend a fair amount of time around these guns, so they need to know how to use them safely. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Like a firearm, an air nailer should never be pointed at another worker under any circumstances.
  • Workers must get proper training before using a nail gun, and that means reading the instruction manual.
  • Workers should always have the right protective gear. This includes things like protective glasses, gloves and hard hats.
  • Safety devices should never be overridden. For instance, some workers will tape the trigger down so that they just have to press the muzzle of the nail gun against the surface for it to fire. This is very dangerous and should never be done.
  • Similarly, workers should always keep their fingers off of the trigger until the exact moment they want to drive the next nail.
  • All nail guns, hoses, compressors and related equipment must be checked over periodically and maintained so that they are in perfect working condition.

Even with these safety tips, accidents happen. Those who get injured on the job have to know what rights they may have to workers' compensation benefits.

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