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July 2, 2012 was a young 25 year old women's 6th day at a new job at an automotive parts company. It would be her last day working there for a while as she recovers from an severe injury.

She went to clear out a machine she was operating when her long brown hair, which hung to midback and pulled back for work into a ponytail, became tangled in the machine. She was pulled face first into the machine.

The machine ripped her scalp from just above her eyebrows backward toward her neck. Screaming in pain and unable to reach the emergency stop button, a coworker shut down the machine that cuts steel tubing. Paramedics were called and it required 20 minutes to free her and she was taken to Akron General Hospital. 

Surgeons reattached about 75 percent of her scalp, the remaining 25 percent was too mangled and more plastic surgery is expected in the future.

This incident is still under investigation but there are several things to look at from this incident. The answers for this particular case we won't know, but for us, as we go to work today, there are things we need to look at closely to prevent this from occuring to us.

  • Do you have loose clothing or hair that can pull you into equipment? Take care of it.
  • Do you have enough training on your 6th day of the job to know the right way to do things? Especially upset conditions and the like. Ask for it.
  • Do you reach into moving equipment? Don't.
  • Do you know the proper lockout procedures for your equipment? Learn them.
  • Do all the interlocks work on your equipment guards? Check them.
  • Do you need interlocks on doors or guards on your equipment? Let us know.

This is truly tragic and one of those life changing injuries we don't like to hear about. Look at yourself and your equipment and procedures today so we don't have a repeat incident here.

This toolbox topic was reviewed by ______________________________________ on ___________________________ with the following employees: