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Injured workers: Conveyor belt rips off woman's hair and scalp

Safeguarding workers from the dangerous moving parts of equipment and installing devices to prevent unexpected activation during cleaning and maintenance of machines are two of the safety violations that are often committed by industrial employers nationwide, including in Colorado. There are frequent media reports about injured workers losing fingers or limbs in workplace accidents that were caused by such violations. In addition, clothing and even hair can be caught in unprotected machine parts -- often with devastating consequences.

In July, a worker in another state suffered a horrific on-the-job accident. While working in a recycling plant, her ponytail got caught in a moving conveyor belt. She describes how painful it was and says that she still doesn't know from where she got the strength to prevent going into the massive rollers of the machine. She managed to pull free but lost 70 percent of her scalp in the process.

She was taken to an emergency room and was fortunate to be treated by a plastic surgeon who is experienced in re-attaching toes, fingers and hands. The surgeon reportedly managed to save enough of her scalp to re-attach it to her face. After about a month, the surgeon reported that the healing process was successful, and the woman's hair is growing again. He says that scar treatment will continue for some time.

Injured workers in Colorado who have suffered such catastrophic injuries may be concerned about their ability to continue their chosen line of work. Healing after workplace amputation injuries may leave them without any income for some time, causing financial instability for the family. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance system serves to assist workers by covering their medical expenses in those circumstances. Some level of lost income compensation is also included in the benefits, and additional compensation may be awarded for those left with permanent disabilities. In some cases, vocational training is provided to equip amputees and other seriously injured workers with new skills to enable them to undertake a different job.

Source: NBC DFW, "Woman Gets Scalp Reattached After Horrific Accident", Julie Fine, Aug. 26, 2015

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2000 S. Colorado Blvd. No. 2-740
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