Safety alert 19/2009 - Nail gun – eye injury

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

A 32-year-old roof carpenter working in Baldivis was hospitalised during June when he was struck in the eye.

The roof carpenter was using a nail gun to fix holding down straps to the battens on a single storey dwelling. He was putting four nails into each steel strap when a nail ricocheted and struck him in the eye.

The roof carpenter using the nail gun sustained a serious injury to the eye, resulting in the loss of sight.

Factors to consider

  • Failure to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment – eye protection.
  • Use of incorrect nail gun and nails 


The following list will help in reducing incidents associated with Air Operated Nail Guns and should be observed at all times. 

Do not attempt to use a nail gun unless you have first received instructions on safe use. 

  • Read printed instructions provided with the tool for its safe use. 
  • Wear safety glasses. 
  • Do not point the tool towards yourself or others, no matter how far away they are. 
  • Clearly display one or more warning signs. 
  • When leaving the tool unattended, turn off the air supply and disconnect the air hose. 
  • Do not use the nail gun in a congested area. 
  • Do not use a defective nail gun - ensure all nail guns are regularly maintained. 
  • Maintain a safe, well balanced position to prevent misalignment of the nail gun during use. 
  • Do not work above other people. Always be aware of the possible danger to others, and take whatever precautions are required. 
  • Do not use any nail that is not of a type suited to the nail gun and the purpose for which it is being used. 
  • Make yourself familiar with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 Regulation 4.50. 

Further information

Further information can be obtained from WorkSafe’s website or by contacting customer service on 1300 307 877 or email

This Alert contains safety information following inquires made by WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident.  WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report or as to its use.

Last updated 29 Jun 2017

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