The #1 source of Home Improvement related injuries?

Your trusty lawnmower. Although nail guns are in the news, ladder falls and lawnmower-related injuries are far more common. So while spring means getting your home improvement projects off the ground, it can also mean an unexpected trip to the hospital emergency room.

Lawnmower injuries tend to be foot and hand related.

People slip on a hill or on wet grass and their feet slide underneath the lawn mower … lawn mowers can shoot out projectiles. Especially for children, playing in the yard is not a good idea if you’re out cutting the grass.
Dr. Jon Olsen via Patrick Kampert, Chicago Tribune

Ladder injuries tend to be fractured legs and feet, with 10% of the people injured needing hospitalization.

Nail gun injuries are in the news because they’ve tripled in the last 15 years, reflective of an increase in DIY activity and the greater availability of nail guns to the general public; contractor and construction worker rates have stayed about the same. The nail gun seems to be a manly thing too, with men accounting for 96% of the injured.

According to other researchers:

Injuries included puncture wounds on hands and fingers, eye and nerve damage, fractured bones, and in severe cases, nails embedded in the head. Few were hospitalized, though.
Tracy Wheeler, Beacon Journal

Why the increase? In addition to the usual suspects (DIYer inexperience), researchers point to nail gun safety as a major factor. They say better safety mechanisms (such as a sequential trip trigger meaning you have to press the trigger for each nail “shot”) would have prevented about 50% of the accidents.

From the Consumer Reports blog:

The study suggests that the increased number of injuries stems in part from the design of the dual-action firing mechanism — in which the manual trigger and nose contact element are both depressed for a nail to be discharged to allow for the rapid fire of nails and speedier production.

The study urges consumers to buy nail guns that use a sequential-trip trigger, which requires the nose contact to be depressed before the manual trigger, rather than simultaneously. Thus, it’s less likely for unintentional nails to be discharged. If you already have a gun, the study suggests you buy a kit to convert the nail gun to the safer sequential mode.

Read the original CDC Report on nail gun injuries.

Read Toolbox Talk: Hammer Home Nail Gun Safety, a good article on general nail gun safety from the National Association of Home Builders.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at 12:07 pm and is filed under DIY, Home Improvement, Safety, Tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments so far

  1. [...] I imagined a “Renovation Coach” as someone who calls you early on Saturday morning to get you back on the renovation horse when you’ve fallen off or have an unpleasant maintenance job to do. Or gets you up at 6am to go to Home Depot for those needed materials. Or trains you with that nifty new nail gun before you hurt yourself. [...]

  2. [...] But probable or practical? I think not. Most of us have enough lawn to mow right now, let alone putting more on the roof. Lawnmowers are already the #1 source of home improvement related injuries and now we’re going to take them to the rooftops as well? [...]

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