How to Comply With Safety Rules for Power-Actuated Fastening Tools

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: January 13th, 2012
Topics: Power Tools |

Sec. 1910.243(d) of the OSHA General Industry Standard regulates “explosive actuated fastening tools,” i.e., tools that are actuated by explosives to propel a stud, pin, fastener or other object and cause it to penetrate and affix to another object. Here’s a look at what OSHA requires.

What Tools the Standard Does Not Cover

First, you need to recognize that Sec. 1910.243(d) does not cover devices designed for attaching objects to soft construction materials, such as wood, plaster, tar, dry wallboard, and the like, nor to stud-welding equipment.

Required Safety Features and Characteristics

The standard specifies different design requirements for 3 basic types of explosive actuated fastening tools:

High-Velocity Tools, i.e., tools or machines that propel a stud, pin or fastener at speeds over 300 feet per second when measured 6.5 feet from the muzzle end of the barrel must have the following 9 safety features:

  • The muzzle end must have a protective shield or guard at least 3 1/2 inches in diameter, mounted perpendicular to and concentric with the barrel and designed to confine flying fragments or particles.
  • There must be shield or guard covering avenues through which flying particles might escape.
  • The tool must be designed so that it can’t be fired unless it’s equipped with the above standard protective shield or substitute shield, guard, fixture, or jig.
  • The firing mechanism must be designed so that the tool can’t fire during loading or preparation to fire, or if the tool is dropped while loaded.
  • Firing must be dependent upon at least 2 separate and distinct operations of the operator, i.e., the final firing movement must be distinct and separate from the operation of bringing the tool into firing position.
  • The tool must be designed so that it’s not operable other than against a work surface, and unless the operator holds the tool against the work surface with a force of at least 5 pounds greater than the total weight of the tool—no hair triggers permitted.
  • The tool must be designed so that it won’t operate when equipped with the standard guard indexed to the center position if any bearing surface of the guard is tilted more than 8 deg. from contact with the work surface.
  • The tool must be designed so that positive means of varying the power are available or can be made available to the operator as part of the tool, or as an auxiliary, in order to make it possible for the operator to select a power level adequate to perform the desired work without excessive force.
  • The tool must be designed so that all breeching parts are “reasonably visible” to allow a check for the presence of any foreign matter.

Low-Velocity Piston Tools, i.e., tools that use a piston designed to be captive to drive a stud, pin or fastener into a work surface at a speed of 300 feet per second when measured 6.5 feet from the muzzle end of the barrel, must have the following 6 safety features:

  • The muzzle end must be designed so that suitable protective shields, guards, jigs or fixtures, designed and built by the tool’s manufacturer, can be mounted perpendicular to the barrel; a standard spall shield must be supplied with each tool.
  • The tool must be designed so that it doesn’t propel or discharge a stud, pin or fastener while loading or during preparation to fire, or if the tool is dropped while loaded.
  • Firing must be dependent upon at least 2 separate and distinct operations of the operator, i.e., the final firing movement must be distinct and separate from the operation of bringing the tool into firing position.
  • The tool must be designed so that it’s not operable other than against a work surface, and unless the operator holds the tool against the work surface with a force of at least 5 pounds greater than the total weight of the tool—no hair triggers permitted.
  • The tool must be designed so that positive means of varying the power are available or can be made available to the operator as part of the tool, or as an auxiliary, in order to make it possible for the operator to select a power level adequate to perform the desired work without excessive force.
  • The tool must be designed so that all breeching parts are “reasonably visible” to allow a check for the presence of any foreign matter.

Hammer-Operated Piston Tool—Low-Velocity Type, i.e., a tool which, by means of a heavy mass hammer supplemented by a load, moves a piston designed to be captive to drive a stud, pin or fastener into a work surface at a mean velocity not exceeding 300 feet per second when measured 6.5 feet from the muzzle end of the barrel, must have the following 6 safety features:

  • The muzzle end must be designed so that suitable protective shields, guards, jigs or fixtures, designed and built by the tool’s manufacturer, can be mounted perpendicular to the barrel; a standard spall shield must be supplied with each tool.
  • The tool must be designed so that it doesn’t propel or discharge a stud, pin or fastener while loading or during preparation to fire, or if the tool is dropped while loaded.
  • Firing must be dependent upon at least 2 separate and distinct operations of the operator, i.e., the final firing movement must be distinct and separate from the operation of bringing the tool into firing position.
  • The tool must be designed so that positive means of varying the power are available or can be made available to the operator as part of the tool, or as an auxiliary, in order to make it possible for the operator to select a power level adequate to perform the desired work without excessive force.
  • The tool must be designed so that all breeching parts are “reasonably visible” to allow a check for the presence of any foreign matter.

 

Safe Loading, Aiming and Firing

You must use only fasteners specifically manufactured for use in a particular tool. Tools may not be loaded until just prior to the intended firing time. Tools may not be loaded unless and until the operator is preparing to use it immediately.

Pointing tools—either loaded or empty—at another person is not allowed. Loaded tools must not be left unattended—unloaded tools shouldn’t be left unattended either, especially where an unauthorized person might have access to them.

In case of a misfire: the operator must follow this sequence: Step 1: Hold the tool in the operating position for at least 30 seconds; Step 2: Try to operate the tool a second time; Step 3: If the tool misfires again, he must wait another 30 seconds, holding the tool in the operating position; and Step 4: After the 30 seconds are up, he may proceed to remove the explosive load in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Explosive actuated tools may not be used in an explosive or flammable atmosphere. All tools must be used with the correct shield, guard, or attachment recommended by the manufacturer.

Last but not least, operators of explosive-actuated fastening tools must use eye protection, head protection and other PPE required to protect them from the hazards to which they’re exposed.

Inspection and Maintenance

Operators must inspect the explosive actuating tool before using it to ensure it’s clean, all moving parts operate freely and the barrel is free from obstructions.

Operators must immediately stop using tools that develop a defect unless and until the tool is properly repaired. Any explosive-actuated fastening tool found not to be in proper working order must be immediately removed from service.

Tools must be inspected at regular intervals and repaired in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

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