3.11 – Powder Actuated Tools


To ensure you use a powder actuated tool correctly, please take the time to review the following safety procedures.


Hand Placement

Never place your hand or fingers over the front muzzle end of the tool. The fastener or piston can seriously injure your hand in the event of an accidental discharge.

Load Level Number

The power level of the load is designated by the load level number marked on each box of loads. As the number increases, the power level also increases. Power level is also indicated by the color of the box or the color on each powder load.

Safety Gear

Operators and bystanders must wear personal safety gear at all times. Serious eye injury and hearing loss can result if proper gear is not worn.

Powder Load Transport

Never carry fasteners or other hard objects in the same pocket or container with powder loads. The loads could be set off, causing serious injury or death.

Warning Signs

Always post warning signs when powder actuated tools are in use. Signs should state “Powder Actuated Tool in Use” and should be located within 50 feet of the area where tool is being used.

Hard and Soft Material
  • Never fire into very hard or brittle materials such as cast iron, tile, glass or rock. These materials can shatter, causing sharp fragments and/or the fastener to fly free.
  • Never fasten into soft materials such as drywall.
Spall Guard

Always hold the tool perpendicular to the work surface to avoid serious injury or death from ricocheting fasteners. Use the spall guard whenever possible.

Tool Storage

Always store the loads and tool, UNLOADED, under lock and key.