MEDIA RELEASE: For immediate release

Services at Kopanong Hospital X-ray department resumed

Pretoria, 4 July 2019 – Recent reports on the apparent X-ray overexposure of all the radiographers at the diagnostic X-ray department of Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging prompted a detailed investigation by SAHPRA’s Radiation Control Unit into the events at the hospital. Ionizing radiation (such as X-rays) has many beneficial applications in medicine as well as industry. The radiation risks to patients, workers and the public that may arise from these applications have to be assessed and controlled. It is standard practice for radiation workers to be routinely monitored to ensure that they are not exposed to significant levels of radiation through their work.

All radiation workers in South Africa are required to wear personal dosimeters to record any radiation dose that they may be exposed to during the course of their work. These are usually thermo-luminescent dosimeters (TLDs) in the form of clip-on badges. In cases where staff do receive accidental radiation doses above the statutory limits, they are redeployed to tasks that do not involve radiation. On Friday 7 June 2019 the CEO of Kopanong Hospital notified SAHPRA Radiation Control that all seven radiographers working in the X-ray Department had received exceptionally high readings on their TLDs for the period 29 April to 26 May 2019. It was necessary for SAHPRA to establish whether the staff members were exposed to radiation above the norm. SAHPRA’s Radiation Control unit launched an investigation and found that none of the individuals had
been exposed to radiation above normal levels. Typical thermoluminescent dosimeter badges Measurements taken on site by a SAHPRA Radiation Control inspector indicated that staff members in the diagnostic X-ray department were not exposed to high levels of radiation that
would compromise their health and safety. The radiographers at Kopanong Hospital have all returned to their work and the department is functioning as usual. SAHPRA therefore considers this investigation to be concluded.

Issued by:
Ms Portia Nkambule
012 842 7582/7583
Media Contact:
Mr Yuven Gounden
012 842 7628
083 297 1214
For more information:
Emma Snyman
Acting Director
Radiation Control
082 319 9173