221917 Buyer beware: Personnel selling nail guns know little about the injury risk associated with the tools they are selling

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hester J. Lipscomb , Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
James Nolan , Carpenters District Council of Greater St Louis and Vicinity, St. Louis, MO
Dennis Patterson , Carpenters District Council of Greater St Louis and Vicinity, St. Louis, MO
Mark Fullen , Safety and Health Extension, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Brandon Takacs , Safety and Health Extension, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Nail guns are ubiquitous in wood frame construction and, consequently, they have become a common source of injury. Compelling evidence now documents decreased risk of injury among trained users and those with a sequential trigger on their tool. In order to prevent inadvertent discharge of nails, the sequential trigger mechanism requires the user to depress the nose piece before the trigger is pulled in order to discharge a nail. Easy accessibility and decreasing costs of these tools have extended what was once an occupational hazard to consumers as well. The sequential trigger is not required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We collected data from 120 points of sale of these tools in 4 states to document knowledge of sales staff regarding safety mechanisms on the tools and their recommendations for safe use.

Consumers, including contractors purchasing tools for construction workers, cannot count on reliably receiving accurate information from sales outlets regarding risks associated with use of these tools. In large part, sales personnel have very little understanding of the risks associated with use of pneumatic nail guns. The cavalier attitude of some sales personnel regarding the use of these potentially deadly tools is irresponsible and likely contributes to a culture that accepts work injury and assumes men know how to use power tools. These findings demonstrate how influences on the culture of construction work are not necessarily limited to workers, their employers, or the places the construction gets done.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Learners should be able to: 1) describe the level of knowledge sales personnel have regarding acute injury risk, including death, associated with use of pneumatic nail guns; 2) discuss the potential importance of tool sales personnels' influence on construction workplace culture.

Keywords: Occupational Safety, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an injury epidemiologist with particular expertise in the construction industry and factors associated with nail gun injury risk specifically.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.