SAFETY WITH NAILS MEANS KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE
Compliments of the Hand Tools Institute
If sparks fly and pieces of shrapnel-like metal ricochet off the walls while you’re in the middle of a do-it-yourself project, chances are you’ve used the wrong hammer to drive a hardened nail.
You’ve also been lucky. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports some 30,000 persons are injured yearly in accidents while using striking tools, often while striking hardened nails. The most traumatic of these are eye injuries.
For this reason, the American Society for the Prevention of Blindness has endorsed the consumer education efforts of the Hand Tools Institute to promote the safe use of hand tools. HTI is a trade association of American manufacturers of quality striking and struck tools.
Their primary rule for safety when using hardened nails is to wear either safety goggles or safety glasses with side shields. Actually, this rule should be followed in any hammering job.
The first thing to know, according to HTI, is the difference between different types of nails, as well as between the various kinds of hammers needed for specific jobs. Not all nails are common; hardened nails are made to be driven into such materials as concrete and extremely hard wood. Because of the high resistance of such materials to penetration, hardened nails must be made of heat-treated steel, which increases the possibility of the nail shattering.
Another principal difference; hardened nails should not be driven with a conventional nail hammer. The proper striking tool is a light sledge, a hand drilling hammer or a heavy ball pein hammer.
The basic safety rules to remember are:
Start the nail perfectly straight
Hit squarely with a tapping one-two stroke as you would a hand star drill
Do not use a rebound stroke. Allow hammer to lay on the head of the nail at the finish of the stroke.
Do not drive nail more than ¾" into masonry or concrete.
Most hardened nail manufacturers today imprint or include instructions for the use of their product on or inside their packages. Follow these directions carefully and avoid accidents.
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