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Economic Costs

Employees have an extremely low perception of the significance of nail gun injuries, and they are not regarded as serious. In reality, they can cause permanent damage to tissues, nerves, and tendons, resulting in loss on function, which has very costly consequences for carpenters and those that earn a living with their hands. [2, 3] Hand injuries are a significant cause of lost work, disability and decreased productivity both on the job and in the home. [3, 4, 8, 9]

Although much focus is on occupational nail gun injury, large increases in nail gun injuries from home use have also occurred. Injuries at home have major economic costs because of their effect on work productivity, along with medical care costs and time off of work, which is largely paid for by the employer. [13]

In Baggs et al., [5] study of the Washington state workers’ compensation data, an average total cost of $692,548 per year was spent on nail gun injuries over the course of the nine year study period, worth an average cost of $1,723 per claim. They found that claimants in the wood framing sector classification, which accounted for the highest percent of nail gun injuries, also account for 60% of the lost time claims reported. Only 20% of claims resulted in more than three days away from work, but in those claims that resulted in lost time, injured employees spent an average of 60 days away from the job.

In the North Carolina and Ohio study mentioned previously, workers’ compensation rates varied widely. In North Carolina, the mean medical cost for claims was $1,497, and mean indemnity was $772. However, the high end of the claim range was $43,805 for medical and $104,191 for indemnity. In Ohio, mean non-lost time claim cost was $483, and the mean cost for indemnity claims was $9,237. [1] In Lipscomb’s 2003 study, [4] over half the men with nail gun injuries lost work time, and one injury required a very lengthy hospital stay.

To most effectively treat a nail gun injury, patients should be referred to a hand specialist for both the removal and subsequent treatment of the injury. [2] The final outcome will have better results, but costs due to specialist involvement are increased.