My daughter, 18, had her entire scalp ripped off by a fruit juice factory machine – she thought she was going to die | The Sun

A DAD has told how his daughter thought she was going to die after her entire scalp was ripped off by a machine at a fruit juice factory.

Alexandra Trandafil, 18, lost her long locks after they were brutally torn from her head at Nippy's packing and processing plant.

She was working as a shed hand at the factory in Waikerie, South Australia, on November 12, 2020, when the near-death experience unfolded.

The teen was tasked with clearing a blockage on a conveyer belt where fruit was sorted and washed – while the machine was still on.

Two moving chains – one at ankle height with a safety guard over it and another at head height without – were operating at the time.

As she tried to retrieve some oranges that had tumbled off, Alexandra's hair horrifically became tangled in the device and her scalp was ripped off.


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Gruesomely, she remained conscious throughout the entire ordeal – and saw her skin "hanging from the machine in front of her."

Her stunned colleagues called an ambulance before the worker was rushed to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Paramedics had to retrieve the youngster's scalp from the machinery, but only part of it could be reattached during emergency surgery.

Three years on, Alexandra still requires ongoing treatment as she suffered from permanent hair loss and scar tissue.

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An SA Employment Tribunal heard that the teen feared for her life after her hair became trapped in the "unguarded" machinery.

Deputy president Katherine Eaton said in her findings: "In an instant, her young and hopeful life flipped into shock, trauma, ongoing pain and disfigurement.

"She remained conscious from the moment of her injury.

"She endured not only the pain and shock of her physical injury but the terror of looking up and seeing her hair and scalp hanging from the machine in front of her.

"She thought she was going to die.

"Not surprisingly, she also suffers psychologically from the effects of the injury and her ongoing disability and disfigurement."

Nippy's pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching health and safety laws and was fined $120,000 (£62,000), as well as legal costs.

The tribunal heard that the factory's managers contacted Alexandra's family to apologise and offered them cash as "reparation" to subsidise the cost of travel to Adelaide for treatment.

The teen's dad, Darrin Trandafil, explained he was relieved that Nippy's had accepted responsibility for the horror incident.


"(We are) thankful that they've pleaded guilty and she was in no way in the wrong," he told the Advertiser.

"We are vindicated that Alex had no wrongdoing in the incident."

The company had been warned about the potential dangers of similar equipment seven years before the incident.

Although the machinery was not the same as the one which injured the teen, the tribunal ruled the risks were "exactly the same."

Magistrate Eaton said: "The risk [of harm] was not only foreseeable, it had actually been foreseen."

Nippy's said it had since spent more than $60,000 (£30,000) overhauling safety procedures around the machines.

The fruit juice firm also failed to provide Alexandra with any training about the risks of working near the conveyor belt.

Nippy's did not maintain a safe work environment and had no warning signs of the possible dangers, the tribunal found.

The shed hand role was Alexandra's first full-time job, which she began during a gap year so she could save up to travel.

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We previously told how a woman was strangled by her own hair while her scalp was torn off by a factory machine during a job interview.

Umida Nazarova, 21, suffered a fatal head injury in Belarus while being shown around by senior members of staff.

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