n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Occupational risk factors and their impact on migration of radiographers from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Volume 31 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



Radiography is one of the allied healthcare professions known to be stressful. It is often associated with long working hours, ethical dilemmas, high patient demands and frequent disruptions from ancillary departments, which are all known to result in negative physical and psychosocial effects that may motivate migration. In this context, migration means; leaving one health sector to seek employment in another (i.e. private and public), resignation to join other professions or moving to a foreign country to practise radiography. The aim of this study was to identify occupational-risk factors that contribute to the migration of radiographers in order to provide input for mechanisms that can be put in place to alleviate the negative physical and psychosocial effects identified, thereby improving staff wellbeing and service delivery in KwaZulu-Natal. A cross-sectional, quantitative study, using a questionnaire as the data collection instrument was employed. The study targeted three categories of respondents: radiographers who left the profession (n=19), those who emigrated (n=29) and those who were employed in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) (n=300). The results revealed that of the 348 participants, 221 (63 %) responded. The ages ranged from 19 to 60 (mean 39) years. The common negative occupational risk factors found across the three categories of radiographers included headaches, neck pain and spasms, lower back pain, knee pain and painful feet. The negative psychosocial effects identified were; job dissatisfaction, anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression and a sense of isolation. The study revealed that the identified occupation-related risk factors resulted in negative physical and psychosocial effects that could contribute to the migration of KZN radiographers. The introduction of employee assistance programmes and improved reporting systems are recommended to reduce the negative impact of occupation-related factors on radiographers and thereby improve staff wellbeing and reduce migration.

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