Skip to content

MSF: Eye Injury Whilst Opening Paint Tin Lid

What happened

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published Safety Alert 21-15 relating to someone injuring their eye whilst attempting to open a tin of paint.  The incident took place in a well-lit workshop, the injured person was not fatigued, nor inexperienced, was focussed on the job and wearing proper PPE including fitted safety glasses.  As an attempt was made to pry open the lid, the screwdriver slipped from the point of contact and sprung in an upwards motion travelling underneath the person’s safety glasses to penetrate the right eye.

The MSF’s correspondent noted that “the client’s notification process was not followed, and offshore installation was not informed of the incident which led to some confusion and could have led to a delay in evacuation”.

What went wrong?

  • There was no defined tool or recommendation for opening this type of paint tin lid;
  • The Risk Assessment in place did not capture the task of removing the paint tin lid as a hazard;
  • By design, the paint tin lid was rounded and tight fitting, which was also deemed a contributing factor as the screwdriver required force to separate the paint tin lid from the tin itself. Given that the screwdriver used was of the long-handled type, it was also considered difficult to control.


  • Purchase of a safer alternative in the form of a specific paint tin opening tool (see images) was agreed, with the use of screwdrivers prohibited for the task.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 8 November 2021
Download: IMCA SF 30/21

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.