The nail gun is used to fire nails into steel, masonry and wood. Compressed gases are capable of firing projectiles up to 10 cm into fully stressed concrete at velocities as high as 1,400 feet per second. Some guns eject nails by detonating an explosive cartridge placed directly behind the gun barrel. Most nail guns eject nails by activating a captive piston with either an explosive cartridge or compressed air.
Nails are preloaded into the nail gun.and are often joined by copper wires or adhesive. When the nail gun is fired, parts of the copper wire ("barbs") may remain attached to the nail by the resin. In a nail gun injury, these barbs can fragment and further contaminate the wound. Failure to recognize the presence of a barb can result in serious damage to vital surrounding structures if the nail is removed by the "traditional" retrograde method, that is, opposite the direction of entry.
There have been numerous cases of operators, as well as bystanders being injured when both of the activation mechanisms- usually a safety wire at the muzzle and the trigger are simultaneously depressed unintentionally. The nail may strike and cause sever injury. Fatal injuries have been occurred. The hand is the most common site of injury. Usually the nondominant hand is the one that is injured.
Mechanisms of nail gun injury include direct penetration- shrapnel wounds from exploding cartridges and high-pressure injection injuries from the compressed air used to activate the gun. The types of hand injury encountered include direct bony injury to the phalanges, metacarpals, carpus, radius or ulna, and penetrating injuries of the interphalangeal and radiocarpal joints. The majority of injuries involve soft tissue injuries.
Lawyers in our network have experience litigating these cases. The nailer industry has devised a "sequential trip" which would eliminate many of these accidents, however the industry sells it as an optional feature and rarely informs consumers that it is a safety feature.