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New Solut. 2010;20(1):95-114. doi: 10.2190/NS.20.1.g.

Surveillance of nail gun injuries by journeymen carpenters provides important insight into experiences of apprentices.

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Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Experienced journeymen conducted detailed surveillance interviews with injured apprentice carpenters (n = 413). Nail gun injuries commonly occurred due to inadvertent discharge, ricocheting or projectile nails, and penetration of the wood surface. Framing nailers with contact trip triggers were most often involved; these triggers allow nail discharge anytime the trigger and nose piece are both depressed including following recoil of the tool after firing. Injured workers made concrete and practical suggestions for prevention. Scenarios were identified where changes in work practice, safer triggers, and thoughtful training could prevent injuries. Most injuries were not reported through workers' compensation; this was often due to perceived lack of injury severity, but also involved subtle as well as overt pressures on apprentices not to report. These case-based analyses are consistent with reports that many injuries from nail guns could be prevented with existing safer trigger mechanisms and training. Efforts should also focus on improved injury reporting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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