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Powder Actuated Tool Safety

How Are They Used?

Powder actuated nail guns are ideal for
nailing wood to concrete, as well as nailing
basement walls to concrete foundations
Shot loads of .22 or .27 caliber
explosives are used
Powered by gunpowder
(cordite) in a controlled

What types of nails do they use?

The nails, or fasteners, are made out of high
quality steel.
Some are magazine fed while others are
single shot powder actuated.
Direct acting: the explosive charge acts
directly on the nail
Indirect acting: an
intermediate piston is used

Why is safety a concern?

Their operation is very similar to a handgun
Although equipped with safety features,
they can become dangerous when not
properly used
The nailing force is significantly more
powerful than that of a pneumatic nail

Related Accidents
An employee was using a powder actuated tool to
install fasteners through metal decking and into a
concrete floor above.
He shot at an angle, and the stud went through the
metal deck, ricocheted, and struck him in the head,
killing him.
The accident occurred in Kalamazoo
County, MI.
The employer was issued three
citations, two serious and one willful.

Related Accidents
Victim was working on the balcony.
Another employee, who stood on an elevated
platform behind the victim, had a nail gun on his
As this employee turned around, the nail gun
automatically shot the victim's shoulder.
Victim fainted and fell over 10 feet to the ground
and died.

Related Accidents
An employee (deceased) was walking up behind
another employee, the brother of deceased, was
performing framing type work with a nail gun
(Hitachi NR 83A).
The brother was in a kneeling position, when the
victim walked up behind him, the brother turned
(partially stood up and turned around) to speak
with him and accidently placed the nail gun
against the victim's chest, with his finger still
depressing the trigger of the nail gun, deployed a
nail into his chest, resulting in fatal injury

Related Accidents
A contractor was rehabbing the office next
door to the barbershop and using a highvelocity, powder-actuated tool.
The fastener he shot into the wall went
through a stud, into the barbershop and hit a
man in the back of the neck.
A seven-figure settlement resulted. 3

OSHA Regulations
1926.302 (e) 1 - Only employees who have
been trained in the operation of the
particular tool in use shall be allowed to
operate a powder-actuated tool.
1926.302 (e) 2 The tool shall be tested
each day before loading to see that safety
devices are in proper working condition

OSHA Regulations
1926.302 (e) 4 PPE shall be in accordance
with Subpart E of this part.
1926.302 (e) 6 Loaded tools shall not be
left unattended.
1926.302 (e) 10 Tools shall not be used in
an explosive or flammable atmosphere.

Procedures to be followed
Make sure tool operators are qualified
Tool operators must be able to:

Understand manufacturers insturctions

Clean the tool properly
Recognize any visibly worn or damaged parts
Identify power tool levels
Operate tool correctly

Procedures to be followed
Make sure eye and face protection
is worn
Post signs where tools are being used & in
adjacent areas where tool use could pose

Procedures to be followed
Make sure the tool meets ANSI design &
construction requirements, standard ANSI
A10.3-1995, Safety Requirements for
Powder-Actuated Fastening Systems

Procedures to be followed
Make sure each tool has a readable,
permanent label that shows the
Model number
Unique serial number

Procedures to be followed
Make sure powder loads & power levels are identified as
specified by the Powder-Load Identification Table:

Use only a powder load that is:

Recommended by the tool manufacturer
One that provides the same level of safety & performance

Procedures to be followed
Make sure the tool is for the appropriate job
Make sure operator uses the tool safely

Inspects the tool before use

Use the tool as per manufacturers instructions
Keep tool unloaded until just before using it
Unload the tool once its use is done
Never leave it unattended
Never point it (loaded or unloaded) at any part
of a persons body

Procedures to be followed
Make sure tools arent used in an explosive
or flammable atmosphere

If tool misfires:
Hold it firmly against the work surface for 30
Follow the instructions in the tool
manufacturers instruction manual

Procedures to be followed
Hold the tool perpendicular to the work
surface when fastening to any material
Keep the fastener from passing completely
through the structural material by using a
backing material when
driving a fastener into any
material that is thin or easily


Thank you & be safe!!!