If you work in construction in New York City then you are well aware of the terror that a nail gun can inflict during an accident and the resulting loss in wages and real injury potential. These once-thought of as effective and safe tools to enhance the production capacity of construction workers are now causing more injuries than any other work-site tool. Understand your rights as a construction worker as well as how to keep safe.
Preventing Getting Nailed
Learn how to prevent your own accident by learning how they happen, and avoiding those situations. The most common reported accident causes are as follows:
- double fire discharge
- discharge from accidentally knocking the safety contact when trigger is squeezed
- nail penetration through a lumber work piece
- ricochet after hitting another hard surface after discharge
- forgoing the safety procedures
- improper nailing positioning creating an awkward stance
- entirely missing the work piece
Avoid these situations by learning the proper safety procedures on each tool and following them every time, taking no short cuts.
Nail gun accidents have doubled since 2001 according to the latest Center for Disease Control (CDC) report. 98% of these injuries are reported by men and include the following injuries:
- 66% of all injuries occur to hands and fingers
- 24% of injuries happen to your lower extremities
- 4% of injuries resulted in fractured bones
- other injuries included Sprains, strains and tendonitis
- electrical burns
- cuts, bruises and lacerations
- nerve damage
- eye injuries
- dental damage
94% of all those that were injured were not hospitalized but visited an emergency department and were released. If you have suffered a nail gun injury while at work, be sure to get medical attention as soon as possible to have the event recorded. Also, your employer is required to submit an Injury and Illness Accident Report with the New York Department of Labor. If you feel that you were unnecessarily put in danger as a result of an unsafe work environment these two steps are critical in establishing a basis of proof.
A Proactive Policy
Since the rise in workplace injuries regarding nail guns, many employers have instituted more comprehensive safety, use and equipment purchasing policies. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a Nail Gun Safety Guide for Contractors.
Their main policy points include taking practical steps to protect workers from further harm. Has your employer taken the following preventative steps to stop nail gun injuries in the workplace?
- Promote reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls
- Provide proper nail gun safety procedures training
- Instruction on nail gun work procedures for each type of job
- Personal protective equipment should be provided
- Purchase new sequential trigger nail guns to replace old ones
- Ensure first aid is available on site for all injuries and medical treatment is conducted
If your place of work has not instituted a proactive policy in the face of rising injuries and you have become injured as a result of a lack of policies and training you may have a right to a personal injury or workplace injury claim.
Personal Injury Claims
Even if you are just reading this article up to 3 years after your accident, you may still have a right to litigation in the state of New York. Personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of three years.
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal proceeding brought into a court from one person against someone who caused the injury, is at fault through negligence for the injury, or from a defective product. Nail guns often fall under these types of lawsuits.