Nail-Gun Injuries Soared from 2001 to 2005: CDC

Since 1991, nail gun injuries for U.S. consumers that are treated in emergency rooms have increased by more than 200 percent, according to a report published April 12 in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The guns have become increasingly accessible to consumers, who may not appreciate the risks when using them. The report recommends engineering controls, particularly a feature called a sequential-trip trigger.

"Nail-Gun Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments -- United States, 2001-2005" says speed, ease of use, and ready availability have made pneumatic nail guns a common tool in residential construction and wood-product fabrication. Its data come from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and occupational injury supplement, which is maintained by NIOSH. During 2001-2005, an average of about 37,000 patients with injuries related to nail gun use were treated annually, with 40 percent injuring consumers. The consumer injury total tripled between 1991 and 2005, the report says.

Still, work-related nail gun injuries outpace consumer injuries, it says: While the annual average of consumer injuries during the study period was 14,800, there were 28,600 workers hurt by nail guns in 2005. About 4 percent of these worker injuries resulted in broken bones, and 24 percent of the injuries were to the workers' lower extremities -- versus 17 percent for consumers. The reports authors come from NIOSH and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University Medical Center's Department of Community and Family Medicine. Visit www.cpsc.gov/library/neiss.html for the NEISS online library.

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