Researcher Blinded in One Eye from Cryotube Explosion

Key Instruction Points

  • Consider shielding for operations involving vacuum or pressurization.

  • Be aware of the potential for pressurization when working with cryogenic liquids.

  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment.

A university investigator was blinded in one eye when a cryotube exploded while being thawed. The probable cause was the rapid expansion of liquid nitrogen that had entered the tube through a small crack during storage. Suitable personal protective equipment for thawing cryotubes and handling cryogenic liquids consists of a face shield, heavy gloves, a buttoned lab coat and pants or a long skirt. Cryotubes should be kept in a heavy, walled container or behind a safety shield while warming.