8 Powder Actuated Tool Safety Tips And Certification

powder actuated tool

Powder actuated tool, also known as the explosive-actuated tool, is found at almost every job site. Powered by an explosive fuel gas that helps drive nails out of it, a powder actuated tool is used to fasten or nail things into different surfaces, such as steel and concrete, etc.


A powder actuated tool, although quite handy and useful, should only be handled by professionals, experts, and authorized personnel who’ve been certified in the use of these tools.

The powder actuated tool is powered by an explosion at the back end that results in the production of expanding gas. The pressure of this expanding gas plays a key role in pushing the nail out.


Parts Of A Powder-actuated Tool

A powder actuated tool has three parts:

  • A fastener that is strong and heat-treated to penetrate the hard surfaces;
  • A cartridge containing gun powder that acts as a power source;
  • The gun-shaped tool itself.


How To Safely Use A Powder Actuated Tool

The use of a power-actuated tool is similar in mechanism to that of a loaded gun. All the dangers that come with a loaded gun can be related to powder actuated tools. Therefore, it is very important to be cautious and watchful while using it.

Before using the powder actuated tool, make sure you have the right cartridges suitable for the surface being used. Load nails and cartridges in the tool only when you are ready to use it. Moreover, make it a point not to cover the open barrel of the tool.

powder actuated tool certification

The opening throws gun powder while the tool is being used which can be quite harmful to the skin. Always keep the loaded tool pointed towards a safe direction. It is also compulsory to wear safety gear, such as gloves, eye shields or masks, and hearing protection, etc.

In addition to this, keep the powder actuated tool perpendicularly against the fastening surfaces and hold it firmly. Try shooting only when in full control of the situation.


Secure your grip and take additional precautionary measures when using the tool while standing on a ladder. In such a situation, shoot only when you have balanced yourself well. In addition to this, clearing your working area before using the tool is not a bad idea as it reduces the risk of accidents to a considerable extent.


Take your time and choose the right place to insert the fastener. Do not get it closer to the edge, or the corner of the surface. As a safety precaution, make it a point to stay at least 3 to 5 inches away from the edge.


PATs should not be used for highly brittle surfaces, such as glass, cast iron, marble, or granite, etc. Try not to be hasty in this. If the powder actuated tool misfires, try not to get to it instantly. Wait for at least 2 to 3 minutes and, in the meanwhile, keep it directed to a safe location. Following that, you can carefully remove the cartridge from the tool.


Certifications For Using PATs

Every powder actuated tool operator should be properly trained and qualified to get certified in the use of a powder-actuated tool. One of the safety certifications developed by tool manufacturers that aim to provide a safe working experience is PATMI.  The operators should always carry the certificate with them.


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