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Nail gun injuries triple since 1991

RALEIGH, N.C. – Unsafe nail guns in the hands of novice do-it-yourselfers are to blame for a three-fold rise in the number of nail gun injuries since the early 1990s, according to a report released Friday.

“They’re called nail guns for a reason – you need to respect it like a gun,” said Hester Lipscomb, a Duke University associate professor of occupational and environmental medicine and the report’s author.

An estimated 13,400 consumers sought hospital treatment in 2005 for a nail gun injury, up from 4,200 in 1991, the report found. The study blamed both layman laborers and unsafe nail guns for the rise.

Most of the injuries involved puncture wounds to hands and fingers. People also suffered eye injuries, nerve damage, fractured bones, and in severe cases, nails embedded in the head.

Although nail guns are increasingly popular among novice carpenters, the researchers questioned why all guns don’t have greater safety mechanisms. Lipscomb said a trigger mechanism that prevents rapid and unintentional firing could prevent roughly half of nail gun accidents.


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