Construction dangers: Nail guns

 According to a study by the National institute of Health, it takes 50,000 to 70,000 nails to frame the average new house. The tool of choice for this job in Illinois and in construction markets across the country is the nail gun, a useful but potentially hazardous implement that can shoot a projectile up to 1400 feet per second. Nail gun mishaps account for 15 percent of hospital admissions for construction workers who suffer contact injuries. Nail gun injuries represent the greatest single source of injury among framers, roofers and workers who put in flooring.

Dangerous tool of the trade

The majority of nail guns are powered by pneumatic air pressure supplied by  either compressed air or by an explosive charge. They operate using one of two kinds of trigger systems. The contact trip trigger can release multiple nails in quick succession. The sequential trigger mechanism releases one nail at a time, and the nose must be in contact with the surface before the gun is operable. Sequential triggers pose about half the risk of contact trip triggers to construction workers.. When used properly, the single release system gives the worker the greatest control with the least risk of projectile ricochet. A personal injury attorney in Chicago would know that contact trip mechanisms may be unintentionally triggered more easily, raising the risk of a flying nail or multiple nails puncturing the operator or someone else on the site. Contractors have different standards for which type of nail guns they use. Some companies specify that when both types of mechanisms are available, experienced journeymen use the contact trip tools while apprentices use the sequential mechanisms. Other companies do not have specific standards in place.

Where and how accidents happen

According to a joint study by the University of North Carolina and Duke University, airborne nails cause 41 percent of puncture injuries. Over two thirds of injuries reported happen during the framing and sheathing processes in wood construction. Roofing accounts for another 16 percent of the injuries. Factors that make using a nail gun more treacherous include reaching, nailing into an awkward space and using the nail gun with a non-dominant hand. A significant number of accidents occur because a worker keeps his or her finger on the trigger when the gun is not in use.  A personal injury attorney in the Chicago area could say that a disorganized job site can contribute to injury as well.

Inexperience a risk factor

The University of North Carolina and Duke University research states that disabled or bypassed safety features on nail guns cause the highest percentage of puncture wounds in nail gun accidents. Lack of proper training may be at fault for many accidents that happen when an inexperienced worker either fails to use the safety mechanism or fails to engage it properly. Inexperience may be to blame, as well, for  construction injuries  that occur when a worker fails to adjust to the recoil of the nail gun after it is fired. Improper technique may lead the gun to refire unintentionally. The NIH reports that since nail guns are considered simple to operate by many construction professionals, new and untested workers are often supplied with nail guns and put directly to work.  The rate of injury is up to three times higher for untrained workers than for people familiar with the tools and how to use them.

Types of injury

Nail guns are capable of causing extensive damage. The majority of injuries occur to the hand, but projectiles have been reported to penetrate the abdominal wall, the upper leg, the thorax, the pelvis, facial bones and the skull. Injuries have resulted in bone fractures, bowel perforation spinal cord damage, and more. A personal injury attorney in Chicago would be aware that nail guns are capable of causing fatal injury. Damage to skin tissue and injected foreign matter make nail gun wounds particularly susceptible to infection. Care must be taken to ensure that an injury does not worsen due to bacterial spread.

Underreporting of accidents

A separate report by Duke University addresses the experience of apprentices in the construction industry. The research states that  many nail gun accidents among new workers go unreported. Fewer than one-fifth of the new workers who suffered bodily injury reported it as a workers compensation accident. According to the report, 73 percent of the workers who failed to file did not think their injuries were serious enough to report. Many of the research participants said they felt that getting shot by a nail gun was just a part of the job. Other reasons people did not file included the following:

  • Overseers paid for medical care out-of-pocket.
  • Apprentices reported an injury to an overseer and were ignored.
  • New workers felt pressured by safety incentive programs.
  • Workers felt that reporting an injury threatened their employment status.

Sometimes workers were asked to avoid workers compensation by filing insurance claims directly through their own private insurance policies. A personal injury attorney  in Chicago understands that workers compensation exists to provide funds for medical care in the event of an injury.

Seek counsel after an injury

In addition to loss of income, a nail gun puncture or other type of injury on the job can lead to long-term physical damage. If you or someone you love have been injured at work, a Chicago personal injury attorney may be able to help you take action to receive appropriate compensation.

Trucking accidents: Holding companies responsible for negligent hiring

A car that has crashed into a lorry trailer causing much damageThe American Trucking Association estimates that transport companies are short 25,000 qualified drivers to meet the current freight hauling needs of a growing industry. Trucking companies will need to hire 100,000 drivers each year by 2025 to keep up with the increase in freight tonnage transport across highways in Illinois and across the U.S. Unfortunately, the pressure of a full schedule, strict deadlines and a shortage of experienced drivers leads some carriers to hire inadequately trained people to operate semi-trucks.


Tractor trailers should have collision avoidance systems

Rain on the road

Commercial truck drivers are not inspiring confidence on the Illinois roadways. Over the last five years of data collected between 2009 and 2013, fatal collisions have risen from 88 to 142, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Age-appropriate car seat restraints save children’s lives

pKidInCarSeatBuckling seat belts before turning on the car is a way of life for many Illinois residents, but safety experts warn that the restraints that come standard in vehicles are not ideal for children. Child safety seats and boosters have been developed specifically for their ages and weights, and using them correctly can often be the difference between life and death in a motor vehicle accident. An attorney at a Chicago personal injury law firm knows how important it is for Illinois residents to understand the dangers that attend improper child restraint practices.


Common types of motorcycle injuries

pMotorcylistOnCurve_10260362_sA sharp rise in motorcycle injuries in Illinois recent years has motorcycle enthusiasts, lawmakers and a Chicago personal injury law firm looking for ways to reduce related injuries and fatalities in the state. According the Illinois Department of Transportation, 3,312 motorcyclists were injured in the state in 2012, an increase of 9.7 percent over the year prior.

5 aggressive driving dangers that put others at risk

pThreeWayCarCrash_6997880_sAggressive driving behaviors continue to be of concern to Illinois motorists, as evidenced by a report released by the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Organization. According to the professional teaching organization, Illinois law enforcement officials receive more calls regarding aggressive and reckless driving behaviors than they do any other type of service request. […]

Speed cameras in Illinois: Can they reduce car accidents?

pRollOverB&W_shutterstock_78347797In 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sighed a bill into law allowing speed cameras to be placed in areas of the state that had more than 1 million residents. This requirement limited the placement of speed cameras to the city of Chicago. […]

Suspending sleep rules for truckers puts others in danger

velocidad del camión. Camiones en entrega de la mercancíaOn July 1, 2013, federal regulations took effect that aimed to increase highway and traffic safety by reducing truck driver fatigue. Now, a Bloomberg report states that Congress may temporarily suspend the new rules as part of a budget agreement.
The reversal comes up against strong opposition from both consumer activists and the U.S. Transportation Secretary, who believe allowing increased driving time would mean putting the public in danger in Illinois and on highways throughout the country. A Chicago truck accident lawyer understands that increased hours of service may mean more accidents.


3 new driver technologies that could improve road safety

pTrafficJam_4603263_sCar accidents occur for many reasons, but one fact remains consistent: according to, 90 percent of collisions are caused by driver error. This statistic has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pushing aggressively for the implementation of three technologies designed to override driver error and save lives. Under consideration are seatbelt interlocks, driver alcohol-detection systems and forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems. Every personal injury lawyer in Chicago knows the statistics regarding driving fatalities in Illinois. Many people in law enforcement and in the auto industry believe these technologies may lower the chances of injury or death while driving.


Are you suffering from whiplash?

pDistraughtManCrash_21810631_sFollowing an auto accident in Illinois, and elsewhere, most people’s first thought is of their own safety, and that of their passengers. After checking to ensure that no one is visibly injured, people may be thankful that they seem to have made it through the collision unharmed. As a Chicago auto accident attorney knows, however, with some injuries, such as whiplash, it may not be immediately apparent that a person has been injured.


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