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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Powder-Actuated Tool Safety

Attention All Foremen: You will demonstrate a powder-actuated tool to all your employees today. Safe production practices need to be covered in this meeting. You may choose to demonstrate multiple tools with live firing. Powder actuated fastening tools have many things in common with sporting rifles and pistols. All use a load to fire a projectile and all are commonly referred to as “guns.”

All powder-actuated tools have safety requirements. When not followed, a deadly situation can result. Just as you would never point a field rifle or pistol at another person while hunting, you should never point a powder-actuated tool at another person or object whether the tool is loaded or unloaded. You also wouldn’t leave a loaded gun lying around- take the same attitude with a power tool.

Guns require proper training. Never use a fastening tool on a jobsite unless you have received proper instruction from a qualified person. Learn to recognize what the proper load and fastener for the tool you are using and the surface you are attaching to is. Don’t attempt to force the improper fastener into a too-hard surface. Rebounding and ricocheting fasteners can cause serious injury.

Always inspect the shotgun. Make sure all working parts function properly. If the gun is not working correctly or shows signs of excessive wear at a critical point, inform your supervisor and have the tool removed from service. Safety points to cover shall include (but not be limited to) the following:

1. Eye protection required at all times. Failure to use will result in serious injury. Show your employees how to properly wear eye protection.

2. It will be the operator’s responsibility to make sure that all personnel in the immediate area that may be affected by the blast of the tool are wearing proper eye protection.

3. Hearing protection will be enforced 100 percent of the time, each and every time a tool is used.

4. All tools are to be treated with the respect given a loaded gun. TREAT EVERY CONTACT WITH A POWDER-ACTUATED TOOL AS CONTACT WITH A LOADED WEAPON. Cover in your demonstration the proper and accepted ways to load these tools. Concentrate on showing employees how to load without contacting the barrel with the palm of the hand.

5. Do not mix loads in your tool pouch. Demonstrate color of loads, the differences in loads by demonstrating the difference with live fire. Demonstrate what to do with a miss-fire....

6. Discuss the different material we install with powder tools: make sure employees understand backing materials.

7. Discuss using powder tools while your work surface is a ladder, scaffold or aerial lift. In one case, our employee sustained serious injuries while working on ladder, using a shotgun. When he fell from the ladder the shotgun discharged into his face.

8. Add any safety information you deem necessary to eliminate accidents with these types of tools.

9. Ask to see every operator license and notify your Personnel/Safety Manager of those employees in need of proper certification to use a tool.