In spite of decades of warnings from researchers and doctors that nail guns are dangerous and can cause major injuries or even death, the popularity of automatic nail guns surged during the building boom of the 2000s resulting in skyrocketing nail gun injuries, an in-depth investigation by the Sacramento Bee finds.
According to the report, California companies reported 1,890 nail gun injuries leading to missed work days between 2003 and 2006, according to Labor Department numbers. A national report apparently shows that the number of people affected by nail gun injuries is actually much higher – about 42,000 people a year, more than 100 a day are treated for these injuries in our emergency rooms. The cost is about $338 million a year in emergency medical care, rehabilitation and workers compensation, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Injury victims and their families are increasingly accusing manufacturers of sacrificing safety to boost the sale of these nail guns and nails, which are nothing but mini missiles, which cause injuries to not only the people who work with them, but also innocent bystanders. Consider this for a second – the most powerful nail guns available in the market can send 30 nails blasting out per minute and these things travel up to 490 feet per second.
One of the subjects featured in the Bee’s story is Brenda Murillo, whose husband Manuel died from nail gun injuries. She is reportedly suing toolmaker Hitachi-Koki U.S.A alleging that the company manufactured a nail gun that was negligently designed, defective and of “dangerous character and condition.”
Doctors, engineers, personal injury attorneys and occupational safety researchers believe that these tragic injuries could easily be prevented by limiting the guns to a one-at-a-time sequential firing. But do these manufacturers care? Not really. They continue to boost their profits with these defective an clearly dangerous products. They apparently make so much money from selling these popular tools that they don’t really care about fighting lawsuits that come their way. Just how much money are they making? Annual sales of nail guns hit the $1.3 billion mark in 2006, up from $850 million in 2001, the article states.
Of course, company representatives say the same thing we’re been hearing from auto manufacturers for years and years now – that there is nothing wrong with their product. The investigative article lists incident after incident in California where workers were injured by nail guns. It’s time agencies such as Cal-OSHA stepped up to the plate and strengthened safety regulations and rules relating to the use of these dangerous tools.
Manufacturers of defective and dangerous products should be held responsible for their actions. They have a responsibility to consumers. If it takes lawsuits to remind them of their responsibilities and make them do the right thing, then that’s the way it’s got to be. They cannot and should not take public safety for granted. As personal injury attorneys, we consider it our duty to go after these negligent manufacturers and hold them accountable.