The world of work is forever changing and so are the occupational health and safety (OHS) challenges that workers and employers face on a daily basis, in both the formal and the informal economies. We know the burden of occupational diseases and injuries in South Africa is immense but we have, as yet, not quantified that burden or calculated the cost to our country and to our people. International best practice, as well as our own extensive experience in OHS, has shown that the vast majority of occupational injuries and diseases are preventable’ (Dr Sophia Kisting).

On 3 September 2015, the NOH hosted its biennial research day. The day was opened by NHLS CEO Mrs Joyce Mogale and was well attended by OHS colleagues from universities & technikons, government departments of Health and Labour, the chamber of mines, the Mine Health and Safety Council, and industry partners (both public and private).

The NIOH has been involved in research since its inception and many prominent publications have arisen from this research. The Research Day provided young researchers within the institute an opportunity to showcase their research projects.

Keynote addresses were given by Prof Leslie London (Head of the Division of Public Health Medicine – University of Cape Town) on ‘Ethics in Research’ and Prof Lindiwe Zungu (Department of Health Studies – UNISA) on Women and Health: Gender concerns in Occupational Health. Dr Babatyi Malope-Kgokong (NHLS AARQA) provided also an inspiring talk to young researchers  on the NHLS Support for Research.

14 researchers did oral presentations of their work and a further 15 showcased posters on the day. Positive feedback was received from participants with many stating that it was a very informative event where opportunities for future collaboration exist.  We acknowledge and celebrate the NIOH researchers and their supervisors and mentors for the enormous amount of work and dedication that made these research presentations possible. It is our belief that the creation and optimal utilisation of new knowledge through research provide excellent opportunities to make a significant positive impact on OHS in the world of work.

Information regarding the NIOH Research day will be published in the Occupational Health Southern Africa Journal at the end of this month. The prelude to the NIOH abstracts is written by Dr Sophia Kisting and is titled: Nurturing a culture of sustainable prevention in OHS through research.