You People Can't Be Trusted With Nailguns

Due (presumably) to a ready supply of inexpensive nailguns and hunky DIY hosts on TLC to demonstrate their use, nailgun injuries in the US have skyrocketed 200% since 1991. From CNN:

“During the 5-year period 2001-2005, an average of approximately 37,000 patients with injuries related to nail-gun use were treated annually in emergency departments, with 40 percent of injuries occurring among consumers,” the report read.

Emergency departments treated three times as many consumers with nail-gun injuries in 2005 as they did in 1991, the report noted.

Lest you worry that craftspeople are becoming incompetent, you should know that work-related nailgun injuries have not increased.—MEGHANN MARCO

Nailguns taking out weekend warriors [CNN]
(Photo: Velo Steve)


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  1. Havok154 says:

    I can just see it now. Some idiot playing with a nailgun, either nailing his friend’s hand to a board or joking around and shooting them at each other until someone actually gets hit.

  2. WindowSeat says:

    A hint to all you amateur nail-gun users, have some bolt cutters within reach until you get used to the tool, cos it’s easier to cut the head off the nail and slide your hand off the nail than it is to pull the nail out of whatever you’ve nailed your hand to AND your hand.

  3. Fast Eddie Felson says:

    I think this story is a truism. As noted, the supply of nailguns has gone way up. Why would we expect anything else but injuries to go up?

    The CDC spokesman in the article notes they didn’t have sales data since 1991. I wouldn’t find it hard to believe there’s been at least a 300% increase in nailgun sales. If that’s true, this seems to be a non-story to me.

    Some idiot playing with a nailgun, either nailing his friend’s hand to a board or joking around and shooting them at each other until someone actually gets hit.

    No gun I’ve ever used will discharge unless a safety latch on the tip of the gun is depressed, so you’d have to work pretty hard (and probably shoot your own finger) to shoot it at someone. I’d be curious how many of these injuries are the result of the nail going straight through the material and into someplace more uncomfortable.

  4. CaptainRoin says:

    @eclarkso: heh, you know you never really think that your hand is directly in the path of that nail…. till it pokes you. luckily i’ve never had one break the skin, but I could see that an novice would definitely do this.

  5. asujosh1 says:

    Hey, I know firsthand how easy it is to nail someone to something. I was helping a friend build a deck, and we were not using probably the most intelligent method of holding the spindles and nailing them, and WHAMMO! a nail right through his index finger. Luckily for me, he was pretty calm cool and collected and just used his hammer to pull the nail and went about the rest of the deck like nothing happened.

    All it takes is a moment of not paying attention….

  6. Sudonum says:

    @eclarkso: You’ve obviously never seen one with the safety disabled. One of the framing crews I use have a couple of “cowboys” with the safeties disabled. No accidents….. yet. BTW they carry their own workmans comp insurance.

  7. homerjay says:

    @WindowSeat: Wow…. that comment is definitely the most ‘something’ I’ve ever seen. Not sure what that something is yet, but its got to be the most of something.

  8. CharlesDarwin says:

    Who are you calling “You people”?

  9. raceroh says:

    “Hey,Roger would you mind holding this here 2×4 for a minute while I fire up this bad puppy,guy at the rental store said it’s idiot proof”
    This public service announcment brought to you by Fly By Night Contracting…there isn’t any job we can’t screw up!

  10. llanim says:

    My brother is a carpenter who refuses to let me ever handle a nailgun. Clever brother.

  11. br549 says:

    As others have said, surely the amount of nailguns sold and in use since 1991 has far more than tripled.

    In 1991 the only time I saw a nailgun was in Lethal Weapon 2, now it seems like every 6th neighbor has one.

  12. thejbs says:

    “YOU PEOPLE”? who are you callin’ YOU PEOPLE?

  13. Bob says:

    Can anyone say “Darwin”?

  14. endersshadow says:

    Heh. A couple of years ago my dad put a nail right through the fat of his middle finger. He rented a nail gun and the guy told him it was a standard carpentry nail gun, but it was a roofing nailer. Needless to say, he used it like a carpentry nailer and it double shot on him and the nail flew back at him, and he jumped out of the way. Made for one hell of a picture. That, and he asked the ER receptionist if she did nails.

    For those wondering, a carpentry nailer will fire only one round per trigger pull. You’re supposed to depress the safety and then pull the trigger. A roofing nailer is meant to have the trigger pulled constantly and will only fire when the safety is depressed, so you can just hold the trigger down and go along a line quickly nailing.

    He’s since bought a carpentry nailer and we, luckily, haven’t had any more incidents :)

    The lesson here: Always find out what type of nail gun you’re getting.