Many Minnesota employees are required to use heavy machinery or tools while on the job. While many of these tools appear to be relatively easy to use, they can cause serious, potentially permanent injuries if they are used incorrectly or they malfunction. For example, nail guns are notorious for causing injuries, with at least two out of five apprentice carpenters suffering nail gun injuries at least once during their four years of training.
More than half of nail gun injuries occur to the hands or fingers. Of these injuries, approximately 25 percent result in serious structural damage to the nerves and tendons, with the potential to inhibit a worker later in life. Lower leg injuries and harm to the wrists, head and neck are less common. Injuries to the head and neck could potentially result in brain damage or paralysis. Several individuals have also reportedly died due to nail gun injuries to the head.
There are several ways in which a nail gun injury could potentially occur. If the nail gun has a contact trigger, the nail gun may double fire or fire unintentionally during placement of the tool. A worker may also accidentally knock the safety off of nail guns that have contact or single actuation triggers, causing the gun to fire randomly. The nail may also ricochet, or the recoil could potentially result in injury due to awkward positioning.
If a worker was injured on the job, the worker may potentially be eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney may help the injured worker gather any evidence demonstrating the full extent of the injuries and the total amount in lost income and medical bills. The attorney may also represent or support the injured worker should they seek compensation.