How much time is safety worth? A comparison of trigger configurations on pneumatic nail guns in residential framing.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Nail gun injuries are among the most common in wood frame construction. Despite evidence that the majority of injuries from unintentional firings could be prevented with a sequential trigger mechanism on the tools, the safer trigger has not been embraced in the fast-paced residential construction industry. An experiment was conducted in an attempt to realistically evaluate the magnitude of productivity concerns. METHODS: Ten journeymen carpenters built a yard shed on two occasions, using nail guns with two different trigger configurations, alternately, under controlled conditions. Mean differences in time required, nails used, and proper placement were evaluated considering the trigger used and whether the building was the carpenter's first or second project. RESULTS: The sequential trigger tool required a mean of 10 additional minutes of active nailing time, which represented 10% of mean nailing time (97 minutes) but only 0.77% of the total mean work time (1,298 minutes) to construct each shed. No significant differences were observed in nail count or placement. The majority of the time variability was related to who was using the tool, rather than the type of tool in the person's hand. CONCLUSIONS: Productivity concerns should focus more on improving the skill of the carpenter rather than on the trigger mechanism. Failure to place tools with the safer trigger configuration, which requires the nose piece to be depressed before the trigger is pulled, in the hands of workers does not make sense given the frequency and potential repercussions of injuries associated with the use of these tools in wood framing.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lipscomb, HJ; Nolan, J; Patterson, D; Makrozahopoulos, D; Kucera, KL; Dement, JM

Published Date

  • July 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 123 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 481 - 486

PubMed ID

  • 18763410

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2430644

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-3549

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/003335490812300409


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States