Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

License nail gun hires: Coroner

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A coroner has recommended that a licence should be needed to hire nail guns - a move labelled an overreaction by DIYers.

William McLay, 56, was found dead in his Kapiti Coast home by police in March 2009.

He had hired a Ramset nail gun from Hire Equip two days before his death.

Last week, Coroner Ian Smith concluded that Mr McLay, who was unemployed and had a history of anxiety and depression, committed suicide.

The coroner has recommend to the Government that people who want to a hire nail guns be required to produce a licence to operate such equipment.

He noted that he had dealt with other cases involving the tools.

Evidence was presented to the inquest that home handymen hiring the nail guns did not have to hold a licence.

A licence indicating people had trained in the safe use of Ramset guns only related to the use of the tools in a commercial sense.

A police armourer provided a report to the court which said that Ramset guns were a powder-actuated tool that used a blank cartridge to propel a fastener into surfaces such as concrete and metal.

Ramset guns have an inbuilt safety feature which means that unless the muzzle of the gun is pressed against a surface with force, the trigger will not work.

"I can accept that ... it would be onerous to expect a firearm licence to be issued with respect to a Ramset/nail gun or something similar," Mr Smith wrote.

"However, I do believe that the operator or hirer of such equipment should hold a licence to operate such a machine and be required to produce it at a hire centre.

"Just as a person who wishes to hire a rental car must produce a copy of a driver's licence, then the same criteria should apply."

Yesterday, Minister for Consumer Affairs Simon Bridges said in a statement that he would consider the coroner's recommendations.

"My officials at Consumer Affairs are currently analysing the report and preparing advice.

"This is a very tragic case and I extend my condolences to all those affected."

His office could not confirm last night whether the recommendation related to all nail guns or just high powered ones such as Ramset models.

Mark Powell, chief executive of Hirepool, said he was unsure whether making private users hold a licence would prevent such tragedies.

"Our business and professional hire companies go to great lengths to ensure the tools provided are most suitable for the job and that hirers are competent to use.

"We will refuse to hire to people if we believe they may put themselves at risk - regardless of private use or for reward."

WHERE TOGET HELP

* If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Or call

* Youthline 0800 376 633.

* Lifeline 0800 543 354.

* Depression Helpline 0800 111 757.

* What's Up 0800 942 8787 (noon-midnight).

- NZ Herald

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