A Norton woman is hospitalized after her scalp was ripped from her head when her hair became caught in a machine during her shift at an automotive parts company.
Monica Thayer, 25, is in the intensive-care unit at Akron General Medical Center after undergoing surgery early Tuesday. Surgeons reattached about 75 percent of her scalp, according to Thayer’s family. The remaining 25 percent was too mangled and more plastic surgery is expected in the future.
Mary Thayer said her daughter was initially elated when she started working the night shift at JR Engineering in Barberton.
The company makes parts for a wide range of national and international companies.
Monica Thayer was at work at 11 p.m. Monday, her sixth day of work, when she went to clear out a machine she was operating, her mother said. Her long brown hair, which hung to midback but was always pulled back for work, became tangled in the machine.
“It caught hold of her hair and just pulled her in,” said Mary Thayer, who has worked at the same company for about 25 years and has operated the same machine.
She spoke to her daughter just before surgery. “She said she just felt a jerk and it just pulled her.”
The machine ripped Thayer’s scalp from just above her eyebrows backward toward her neck. Writhing in pain, her mother said, Thayer pleaded for co-workers to cut her loose. It wasn’t until paramedics arrived that she was freed. Thayer was then taken by helicopter to Akron General, which is just a short distance away by ambulance.
“It was that serious,” Mary Thayer said. “It literally tore the entire scalp off her head.”
Kathy Mefford, human relations director for the company, said it is still investigating the incident and could not immediately comment.
Monica Thayer, a Norton High School graduate, lives with her mother. She is single and has no children. Her new job pays $8 an hour and does not offer health insurance. Workers are required to assemble parts, and temperatures inside the Ninth Street Northwest factory are often warm.
Mary Thayer said her daughter “just thinks she lost some hair” and is not fully aware of the extent of her injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Cleveland has begun an investigation, according to spokeswoman Brigitte Frank. She declined further comment.
“The bottom line is that people’s safety is at stake,” Mary Thayer said. “I’m just hopping mad about this.”
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com.