A researcher packaged a microgram crystalline sample with dry ice to ensure sample integrity. The crystalline sample was first placed inside a glass vial, which was subsequently housed inside a plastic secondary container with a screw cap. The researcher placed dry ice around the glass vial inside the secondary container before loosely capping the top to vent.
When it came time to take out the glass vial, the researcher found that the secondary container was stuck, even though the cap was originally loosely screwed.
The researcher recruited the help of a staff member to unscrew the secondary container. With each individual holding one end of the container, the two tried to screw it open. In the process, the secondary container blew apart with a very loud popping sound, shattering both secondary container and glass vial. All contents impelled outwards. Glass shards impinged on the staff member’s face and on his regular prescription glasses. Both researcher and staff member reported hearing short term ringing in their ears as a result of the shattering.