Powder Actuated Tools

Powder actuated tools are defined in the General Regulation as "a tool that, by means of an explosive force, propels or discharges a fastening device for the purpose of impinging it on, affixing it to or causing it to penetrate another object or material". Common examples include some types of nail guns and concrete fasteners.

The owner (who can also be the employer or employee who is required to use the tool) of a powder actuated tool must ensure that:

  • The tool, power load and fastener meet the requirements of ANSI standard ANSI A10.3-1995, "American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations - Safety Requirements for Powder-Actuated Fastening Systems".
  • The tool shows the manufacturer's name or trademark and the model and serial number.
  • Guards for the tool show the manufacturer's name or trademark.
  • The powder load of each cartridge for the tool is clearly identified.
  • Boxes of fasteners for the tool show the manufacturer's name or trademark and the type or size of fastener.
  • The tool has a storage container at the place of employment.
  • It is inspected before being used and repaired or replaced, if necessary.
  • The tool is maintained in proper working condition, and is repaired only by a competent person.
  • It is kept in a proper storage place when not in use.

As an employer, you must ensure that:

  • No employee operates a powder actuated tool unless the employee:
    • has been trained in the use of the specific make and model and holds a valid operator's certificate for the specific tool,
    • is competent to use the tool, and
    • is authorized to use the tool.
  • The tool is used only for the purpose for which it is designed.
  • All powder actuated tools and their explosive charges are kept in a storage area that is accessible only to authorized persons.

As an employee (operator), you must:

  • Operate the powder actuated tool in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Be competent in the use of the tools and be authorized by your employer to use the tool.
  • Inspect the tool thoroughly before using it, paying particular attention to the cleanliness of the chamber and barrel.
  • Not use a defective tool.
  • Report the existence of a defective tool to the employer.
  • Use the tool only for the purpose for which it is designed.
  • Place the tool in a safe appropriate container or location. This includes not leaving tools on floors, passageways, stairways or elevation from which they might fall.
  • Not point the tool at anyone.
  • Load the tool only after an inspection reveals no defects and only prepare the tool for immediate use.
  • Only use cartridges and fasteners designed for that tool.
  • Select cartridges of sufficient power to avoid excessive force.
  • Not use the tool near flammable or explosive substances.
  • Not fire a fastener:
    • through an existing hole unless the tool is specifically equipped by the manufacturer for accurate alignment of the barrel with the hole,
    • into cast iron, glazed brick or tile, marble, granite, slate, glass or any other unusually hard or brittle material,
    • into a steel surface that is of greater hardness than the fastener being used,
    • with a high velocity tool into a hollow concrete block, and
    • until the work area has been checked for employees working in proximity to where the fastener is going to be fired.
  • When a surface's hardness is not known, use a hand hammer to drive the point of the fastener into the material and not use the tool on that surface if the fastener does not penetrate the surface.
  • If a misfire occurs, continue to hold the tool in a firing position for at least 15 seconds until the cartridge has been ejected. Do not point the tool in a direction that can injure the user or others until the cartridge has been ejected.
  • Wear suitable eye protective equipment (close fitting eyecup or cover-goggle type).
  • Return unused cartridges to a proper storage box.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part I INTERPRETATION

Section 2

2. In this Regulation

"ACGIH" means the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists;

"Act" means the Occupational Health and Safety Act ;

"adequate" means sufficient to protect a person from the risk of injury or damage to health;

"aerial device" means any vehicle-mounted telescoping or articulating device that is used to position a person by means of a bucket, basket, ladder or platform directly secured to the boom;

"air contaminant" means any gas, fume, smoke, vapour, dust or other airborne concentration of a substance that may be hazardous to the health or safety of a person;

"anchor point" means the part of a permanent or temporary structure or of a component attached to such a structure to which fall-protection components are connected or suspended equipment components are connected;

"angle of repose" means the angle with the horizontal at which material will no longer flow freely;

"ANSI" means the American National Standards Institute;

"arboricultural operation" means work connected with the care and maintenance of trees and includes pruning and tree removal;

"ASHRAE" means the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.;

"ASME" means the American Society of Mechanical Engineers;

"blaster" means a person who holds a valid certificate of qualification in the blaster occupation or powderman trade issued under the Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification Act;

"blasting area" means an area within a 50 m radius extending from a place where explosives are being prepared, handled or loaded or from a place where an unexploded charge is known or believed to exist;

"blasting operation" means an operation using explosives and extends from the time explosives arrive at a place of employment to the time all explosives are used or removed from the place of employment;

"body belt" means a body support device that encircles the body at the waist and is also known as a safety belt;

"CGA" means the Compressed Gas Association, Inc.;

"CGSB" means the Canadian General Standards Board;

"competent" means

(a) qualified, because of such factors as knowledge, training and experience, to do assigned work in a manner that will ensure the health and safety of persons,

(b) knowledgeable about the provisions of the Act and the regulations that apply to the assigned work, and

(c) knowledgeable about potential or actual danger to health or safety connected with the assigned work;

"control zone" means the area between an unguarded edge and a warning line which represents a safe distance from the edge;

"CSA" means the Canadian Standards Association;

"danger area" means twice the distance at which there exists a possibility of hazard to a person or property from the effects of a blast;

"dB" means peak sound pressure level in decibels referenced to twenty micropascals;

"dBA" means the sound pressure level in decibels referenced to twenty micropascals measured on the A scale of a sound level meter;

"de-energized" means isolated and grounded;

"energy absorber" means a component of a fall-arresting system that dissipates kinetic energy by creating or extending the deceleration distance;

"energy absorbing lanyard" means the integral assembly of a lanyard and an energy absorber;

"engineer" means a person who

(a) is registered as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick as entitled to engage in the practice of engineering,

(b) has received a licence from the Executive Council of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick to engage in engineering, or

(c) is practising as a professional engineer in New Brunswick under subsection 10(7) of the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act;

"explosive" means a substance that is made, manufactured or used to produce an explosion or detonation and includes black powder, propellant powders, blasting agents, dynamite, detonating cord, slurry, watergel and detonators;

"fall-arrester" means a mechanical fall-arrest device that is attached to a life line or rail and locks itself immediately in the event of a fall;

"fall-arresting system" means a permanent or temporary assembly of fall-protection components designed to arrest the fall of one or more employees;

"fall-protection system" means a guardrail, a travel restraint system, a fall-arresting system, a fall restricting system, that is either a personal fall restricting system or a collective fall restricting system that was designed to

(a) prevent or eliminate the risk of falling,

(b) restrain an employee who is at risk of falling, or

(c) stop an employee who has fallen;

"fall restricting system" means a combination of a work positioning system and fall restricting equipment;

"felling" means any part of an operation that severs a tree from its stump and brings it to a horizontal position on the ground or a bed;

"firefighter" means an employee who provides fire protection services to the public from a fire department within a municipality, rural community or local service district, and includes an industrial firefighter;

"free fall" means the vertical distance between the onset of a fall to the point where the fall-arresting system begins to apply force to arrest the fall;

"full body harness" means a body-holding device that is designed to transfer to an employee's torso and upper legs the forces experienced during and after the arrest of a fall, and that depending on the classification of the device, a full body harness may also be designed for travel restraint, work positioning or suspension in addition to fall-arrest;

"guardrail" means an assembly of components joined together to form a barrier that is designed to prevent an employee from falling off the edge of a surface, but excludes a permanent guardrail system;

"hazardous substance" means a substance that may, because of its harmful nature, cause injury or damage to the health or safety of a person exposed to it;

"hoisting apparatus" means mobile cranes, tower cranes, electric overhead travelling cranes, vehicle hoists, winches, and other similar equipment, but does not include elevators, dumbwaiters, or mine hoists;

"individual fall-arresting system" Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 1]

"horizontal life line" means a rope made of synthetic fibre or wire, a rail or other similar device that is attached horizontally to a minimum of two anchor points, and to which a fall-arresting system or travel restraint system may be attached;

"industrial firefighter" means an employee who works at an industrial or commercial place of employment and who is designated by his or her employer to fight fires at that place of employment;

"industrial lift truck" means a self-propelled vehicle used to carry, lift, stack, tier, push or pull material;

"lanyard" means a flexible line used to attach a full body harness or body belt to an energy absorber, a vertical life line, a horizontal life line or an anchor point;

"life line" means a manila rope with a minimum diameter of 19 mm or a rope or strap of equivalent strength;

"lock out" means to render a machine or electrical equipment inoperative and prevent it from being activated by using a locking device to isolate the energy source from the machine or equipment;

"logging operation" means work connected with the harvesting of trees and includes the felling and transportation of trees;

"manufacturer's rated capacity" means the maximum capacity, speed, load, depth of operation or working pressure recommended in the manufacturer's specifications for the operation of a machine under the circumstances prevailing at the time of operation;

"manufacturer's specifications" means the written instructions or recommendations of a manufacturer of a machine, materials, tools or equipment that outline the manner in which the machine, materials, tools or equipment is to be erected, installed, assembled, started, operated, used, handled, stored, stopped, adjusted, maintained, repaired or dismantled and includes an instruction, operating or maintenance manual and drawings;

"owner of a tool" means a person who has purchased, rented or otherwise obtained a tool and has the tool for use at a place of employment;

"personal fall-protection system" means the components of a fall-protection system for which the employee is responsible and includes a full body harness, a body belt, an energy absorbing lanyard, a fall-arrester, a self-retracting device and the connecting hardware;

"portable compressed gas container" means any container having a water capacity of 450 kg or less that contains or is intended to contain a compressed or liquefied gas;

"portable power-operated hand tool" means a tool held with one or both hands and powered by a hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical or chemical energy source;

"powder actuated tool" means a tool that, by means of an explosive force, propels or discharges a fastening device for the purpose of impinging it on, affixing it to or causing it to penetrate another object or material;

"powderman" repealed; [N.B. Reg. 93-8, s. 1]

"powered mobile equipment" means self-propelled off-highway equipment used for construction, mining, agriculture, forestry and other purposes and includes front-end loaders, dozers, backhoes, excavators, skidders, forwarders, tree-harvesters, scrapers, compactors, rollers, graders, agricultural tractors and industrial tractors, but does not include industrial lift trucks or mobile cranes;

"pressure" means gauge pressure in kilopascals;

"SAE" means the Society of Automotive Engineers;

"safeguard" means a guard, shield, guardrail, fence, gate, barrier, safety net, wire mesh or other protective enclosure, handrail or other similar device designed to protect the safety of a person, but does not include protective equipment;

"safety monitor" means a competent person designated to monitor weatherproofing activities in a control zone to ensure that work is done in a manner that minimizes the potential for an employee to fall;

"service stairway" means a stairway used for access for purposes of maintenance and repair and not used as part of a travelway;

"silviculture operation" means the development and care of trees and includes site preparation, planting, thinning and harvesting;

"structural fire-fighting" means the activities of rescue, fire suppression and conservation of property from fires involving buildings, structures, vehicles, vessels, aircraft or other large objects;

"swing staging" means a platform supported at the ends by hangers or stirrups and slings and suspended by ropes attached to hooks or thrust- outs which are attached to fixed supports;

"suspended equipment" means any permanently installed or temporary fixed suspended work platform, swing staging, boatswain's chair or other similar device suspended by support lines or other means, designed to carry employees for the purpose of gaining access to exterior and interior building surfaces and other structures;

"threshold limit value" means

(a) except with respect to lead sulfide and formaldehyde, a threshold limit value adopted by the ACGIH and set out in the ACGIH publication entitled "1997 Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices", and

(b) with respect to lead sulfide, a threshold limit value adopted by the ACGIH for lead sulfide set out in the ACGIH publication entitled "1991-1992 Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices", and

(c) with respect to formaldehyde, the threshold limit value set out in section 23.1;

"tool" includes a hand tool, a portable power-operated hand tool and a powder actuated tool;

"travel restraint system" means an assembly of components designed to prevent an employee from reaching an unguarded edge or an opening;

"underground mine" means an underground mine as defined in the Underground Mine Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act;

"vertical life line" means a flexible line or rope made of synthetic fibre or wire or a rail attached to an anchor point to which a fall-arrester is attached;

"warning line" means a supported raised line marking the edge of a control zone;

"weatherproofing" means the application of tar, asphalt, gravel, insulation, shingles or membrane material to a roof but does not include the installation of decking material or the stripping of materials from the roof;

"work platform" Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 1]

"work positioning system" means a system designed to provide a means of support for an employee at a desired height that allows an employee to have his or her hands free to perform a task;

"zero energy state" means, with respect to a machine, a state in which all

(a) power sources,

(b) pressurized fluids and air,

(c) potential mechanical energy,

(d) accumulators and air surge tanks,

(e) kinetic energy of machine members,

(f) loose or freely moveable machine members, and

(g) moveable material or work pieces that are supported, retained or controlled by a machine and that could move or cause the machine to move,

are acted upon to render the machine incapable of spontaneous or unexpected action by being locked out, isolated, blocked, supported, retained, controlled, drained to tank, vented to the atmosphere, reduced to atmospheric pressure or otherwise released of potential energy.

[N.B. Reg. 96-106, s. 1; 97-121, s. 1; 2001-33, s. 1; 2005-80, s. 1; 2010-159, s. 1]

Part IX TOOLS

Section 80 General Duties of an Owner

80. An owner of a tool shall ensure that the tool

(a) is of good quality material appropriate for its intended use,

(b) is inspected before being used and repaired or replaced if necessary,

(c) is maintained in proper working condition,

(d) is tempered, dressed and repaired only by a competent person,

(e) where necessary, is equipped with devices to ensure a secure hand grip,

(f) is of a non-sparking type where there is risk of an explosive atmosphere being ignited by a spark, and

(g) is kept in a proper storage place when not in use.

Section 81 General Duties of an Employer

81. An employer shall ensure that

(a) employees are competent in the safe handling and use of tools,

(b) employees are instructed to use tools only for the specific purposes for which they are designed, and

(c) procedures are implemented for safely supplying tools and materials to employees located in hazardous places.

Section 82 General Duties of a User of a Tool

82. (1) An employee who uses a tool shall use, handle and carry the tool in a safe manner.

(2) Without limiting the duties under subsection (1), an employee who uses a tool shall

(a) inspect the tool before use,

(b) not use a defective tool,

(c) report the existence of a defective tool to the employer,

(d) where competent to do so, maintain the tool in proper working condition,

(e) use the tool only for the specific purpose for which it is designed,

(f) place the tool in a safe and appropriate container or place when not in use,

(g) not leave tools on floors, passageways, stairways or elevations from which they might fall,

(h) use a holding device to hold a tool that is to be struck by another employee, and

(i) not point at any person a tool that ejects pins, nails or any other projectile.

Section 87 Powder Actuated Tools

87. An owner of a powder actuated tool shall ensure that

(a) the tool, power load and fastener meet the requirements of ANSI standard ANSI A10.3-1995, "American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations - Safety Requirements for Powder-Actuated Fastening Systems",

(b) the tool is legibly and durably marked to show the manufacturer's name or trademark and the model and serial number,

(c) guards for the tool are legibly and durably marked to show the manufacturer's name or trademark,

(d) the powder load of each cartridge for the tool is clearly identified,

(e) boxes of fasteners for the tool are legibly and durably marked to show the manufacturer's name or trademark and the type or size of fastener, and

(f) the tool has a storage container at the place of employment.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 28]

Section 88

88. An employer shall ensure that

(a) no employee operates a powder actuated tool unless the employee

(i) has been trained in the use of the specific make and model of the tool to be used and is in possession of a valid operator's certificate,

(ii) is competent to use the tool, and

(iii) is authorized to use the tool, and

(b) all powder actuated tools and their explosive charges are kept in a storage area that is accessible only to persons who are authorized to handle them.

Section 89

89. An employee who uses a powder actuated tool shall

(a) inspect the tool thoroughly before using it, paying particular attention to the cleanliness of the chamber and barrel;

(b) load the tool only after inspection reveals that the breech and barrel are free of foreign matter and only to prepare the tool for immediate use;

(c) use only cartridges and fasteners designed for the tool;

(d) select cartridges of sufficient power to perform the work without the application of excessive force;

(e) not use the tool in the presence of flammable or explosive substances;

(f) not fire a fastener

(i) through an existing hole unless the tool is specifically equipped by the manufacturer for accurate alignment of the barrel with the hole,

(ii) into cast iron, glazed brick or tile, marble, granite, slate, glass or any other unusually hard or brittle material,

(iii) into a steel surface that is of greater hardness than the fastener being used,

(iv) with a high velocity tool into a hollow concrete block, and

(v) until the work area has been checked for employees working in proximity to where the fastener is going to be fired;

(g) when the hardness of a surface is not known, use a hand hammer to drive the point of the fastener into the material and not use the tool on that surface if the fastener does not penetrate the surface;

(h) if a misfire occurs, continue to hold the tool in a firing position for not less than fifteen seconds and then, until the cartridge has been ejected, keep the tool pointed in a direction which will not cause injury to the user or others;

(i) wear suitable eye protective equipment of the close fitting eyecup or cover-goggle type;

(j) return unused cartridges to a proper storage box; and

(k) operate it in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 18]