August 2009 Safety Tip

Air Guns and Pneumatic Tools

Compressed air is used in a growing number of household tools. It is both powerful and hazardous.

Here are a few precautions for working with pneumatic tools:

  • If you are doing carpentry or some other project and using a pneumatic tool that shoots fasteners (such as nails or staples), make sure it is equipped with a device that keeps the fastener from ejecting unless you are pressing the muzzle against a firm surface.
  • Just as you don’t point a gun at something you don’t want to shoot, never point a tool at items you don’t want to fasten.
  • Don’t hold the tool with your finger on the trigger. Move it into place when you are ready to start shooting fasteners into something. Most pneumatic tools have very sensitive triggers; it takes only a small amount of pressure to activate them.
  • Be careful with the air hose. Keep in clean, and don’t crimp it or crush it. Although they appear stronger and more durable, you should treat an air hose like you would treat an electrical cord.
  • Don’t try to drive a fastener into a hard or brittle surface.
  • Check to see if the fastener you are using will protrude through the wood or other material you are working with. If so, make sure that protruding nail won’t pose a hazard for anyone who will come into contact with your work.

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