The need to ensure caution is taken when working with tools and equipment on construction sites has been highlighted by an incident which happened on a construction site in Boston in The USA recently.
A construction worker apparently accidentally shot himself in the knee with a nailgun while working on the roof of a housing construction site.
Although the worker’s injuries were not life-threatening he had to be flown to Boston hospital for treatment. Rescuing the worker was complicated by the fact that he was on the roof at the time.
The following excerpt from a post on Enterprisenews.com explains:
The 42-year-old Norton resident, whose name was not released, was flown to a Boston hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries after the 3:15 p.m. accident at 24 Rockland St., said Fire Capt. James Walsh.
The man had been standing on scaffolding about 20 feet above ground while framing the roof of a new house when the nailgun went off, Walsh said.
The impact “went right through his kneecap, into his right knee,” Walsh said.
Crews used astokes basket – a stretcher used for high angle rescue – and the aerial ladder to lower the victim to the ground after stabilizing his injury.
A MedFlight helicopter landed outside the Parkview Elementary School on Spooner Street and transported the man to Boston, Walsh said.
There are a number of construction tradespeople who utilize nail guns and other tools on construction sites including carpenters, roofers etc. It is for this reason that workers need to be trained on hand tools and power tool safe use before being allowed to do so. It should not be assumed that workers know how to use these tools just because they are so common. This is a common mistake made by construction employers and principal contractors.
It should also not be assumed that nail gun accidents and accidents involving hand and power tools are less serious and the injuries they inflict are minor – this is a common misconception. Nail gun accidents can be very serious and possibly even life threatening. For example people have lost their eye sight due to nail guns accidents.
The 2 main issues involved with the use of nail guns are, nails accidentally discharging from the gun and nails ricocheting and injuring people nearby. This most often occurs when the nail gun is in bump mode. Inadvertent discharge of the nail due to contact with worker’s bodies while engaged in another activity is also a cause for concern, for example while climbing a ladder. This is probably what happened to the worker in Boston, he didn’t have the nail gun in safe mode.
Another important thing to remember is that nail guns like all machinery are subject to wear and tear. For this reason it is important that these tools are serviced regularly and kept in good condition.
Workers need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times when utilising nail guns or any equipment.
Also when choosing nail guns, it’s always better to use the single shot type rather than the Bump fire type because it offers more chance of injuring oneself or others.