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Young woman loses scalp in workplace accident

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A 25-year-old woman’s life is forever changed since her hair became caught in an industrial machine at the factory where she worked.

Monica Thayer, of Norton, OH, was working the nightshift at JR Engineering on July 2, clearing out a machine she was operating that cuts steel tubing when it snatched her by her ponytail and pulled her inside, reports the Akron Beacon Journal Online.

Unable to reach the safety stop button, Thayer screamed for help.

“My biggest fear was that I would be moments away from getting rescued, and then it would start-up and kill me,” Thayer told fox News. “The next thing I realized, it had sucked me up and pulled me behind the bar that started to spin as I was cleaning the machine out, and up against the cutter.”

A co-worker came to her rescue, hit the off button and stopped the machine, but by then it had ripped off Thayer’s entire scalp from her eyebrows to the back of her neck. Emergency responders worked for 20 minutes to free Thayer from the machine and transported her by helicopter to Akron General Medical Center, where surgeons operated for eight hours to stop the bleeding. She spent seventeen days in the hospital and underwent numerous surgeries in which skin grafts were taken from her legs to repair the damaged scalp and cover her head.

Thayer told newsnet5.com she is glad to be alive and has come to terms with the fact that she will have to buy wigs for the rest of her life. However, she still fears her reaction when they remove the bandages and she sees herself for the first time since the incident.

JR Engineering, in Barberton, OH manufactures precision components for major automakers and the U.S. Government.

Thayer was only on the job only six days, making $8 per hour with no insurance benefits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the incident. It is unknown at this time if there were lockout/tagout measures in place to control the unintentional start-up of the machine during servicing and maintenance.