Powder Actuated Tool Safety

♦ Powder Actuated Tool Safety – Security electronics installers will rarely require the capabilities of powder-actuated tools but there are instances in which some building work or fastening to structural elements may be required during an installation. It’s at these times fastener guns may be employed.

Powder-actuated tools are driven by a rimfire cartridge which ignites powder to release gas that fires fasteners deep into structural members, such as timber or concrete. Safety tips should be rigorously adhered to when these tools are being used and the most important one is that only properly trained and certified individuals with registered tools* should employ them or bring them onto a site you’re working on.

To ensure safe operation powder-actuated tools should be loaded only immediately before they are to be used and they should never be set down still loaded. In the event the tool fails to fire, the operator should wait 30 seconds before attempting to fire the tool again. After this, the charge should be removed and dropped into a bucket of water.

It’s vital that operators can effectively assess the strength of the structural beams into which they’re making fastenings. Too great a charge will cause fasteners to burst out the other side of beams, while too little will lead to fasteners bouncing off a surface back towards the operator or other workers.

Before use, operators must check the tool is clean and its moving part operate as they should. Be sure to check the barrel has no obstructions and that shields and guards are fitted as they should be. Pay special attention to the muzzle safety interlock which ensures the PAT will only fire when pressed firmly against a hard surface.

It’s important you never mix charge strengths in the same receptacle – the loads are distinguishable by colour but separating them is still best. Never bring a powder actuated tool into a hazardous/flammable area. Keep PATs locked away between uses. Ensure power actuated tools are serviced to schedule. Store tools and charges separately.

* The ownership and use of these tools is regulated in Australia – an owner must register the tool, and an operator of one of these tools is required to have a license and to have undergone training in their use.

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