From the Editor

Gill Nelson, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to this, our first issue of the new decade.
 You will notice that we have revised the layout of both the scientific manuscripts and non-scientific articles. We have also added the full citations of the scientific papers, which we hope will assist you when referencing these papers. Please let us know what you think of our new look.

In August last year, six months after publishing a special issue on women in science, medicine and global health, the Lancet announced their pledge to improve representation of women in publishing, which encompasses authors, reviewers and editorial advisory boards.1 Encouragingly, 10 of the Lancet group Editors-in-Chief are women. Beyond gender equity, the Group is also committed to increasing ethnic and geographic representation. Following suit, all first authors of the three papers in this issue of Occupational Health Southern Africa are women. We are also pleased to publish our first paper from Rwanda–Mukaruzima and her colleagues measured physical activity levels in government workers and found that, although men exercised more than women, both groups needed to get more active to improve their health. Kulenkampff and her co-authors wrote a paper on students’ knowledge and practice of a post exposure prophylactic protocol. It appears that work is needed in this area too; many students did not report needle stick and other injuries, thereby increasing their risk of blood-borne infections. In the third paper, Ntlhakana et al. report on the audiometry data that are collected by a large mining company. Going forward, we will be recording some demographic information about authors, with the intention to present some statistics to you at the beginning of next year.

As we return to work in this early part of the year, I would like to mention two giants in occupational health–Dr Irving Selikoff and Dr Sophie KistingDr Selikoff would have celebrated his birthday on 15 January. Although he passed away in his late 70s in 1992, he has not been forgotten as a pioneer in occupational medicine. He worked tirelessly on tuberculosis and asbestos-related diseases throughout his 50-year career, and many Acts and other legislation are based on his research findings. Dr Kisting, likewise, has spent the last several decades improving the health and lives of workers. In recognition of her work, Dr Kisting added the Leslie Nickels International Health and Safety Award to her growing collection, in November last year.

Look out for the electronic version of the 22nd South African Health Review (SAHR), which was released by the Health Systems Trust at the end of January 2020. The SAHR, which was first published in 1995, is one of the most authoritative sources of commentary on the South African health system. For a hard copy of the Review, contact Ms Kemona Pillai, at Another very recent publication of interest is the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) newsletter, OccuZone. Please access this via the link on our website to read all the latest news.

There are a number of important conferences this year, including Occupational Health 2020: Research, Practice and Policy in Edinburgh, Scotland in June, and the 28th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health (EPICOH) in Montreal, Canada  in August/September. Please check the Calendar page on our website for details, including abstract submission and registration deadlines. 

Please visit the website for news, training and courses that are relevant to occupational health. The information is updated regularly; please send me any items that you would like to add. Also look out for the writing courses that we will be offering in 2020.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Dr Ntombizodwa Ndlovu, the Journal’s Assistant Editor, who graduated with her PhD in December last year. We are extremely proud of her.



1. EurekAlert. The Lancet journals announce diversity pledge and no ‘manel’ policy, 12 Aug 2019. Available from: (accessed 23 Jan 2020).

The South African Society of Occupational Medicine (SASOM) Annual Author Prize
On behalf of Occupational Health Southern Africa, SASOM is encouraging researchers working in the field of occupational health in Africa to publish their research findings. SASOM will provide a cash award to a novice author who is first author of the best paper published in Occupational Health Southern Africa in a calendar year, as judged by the Editorial Advisory Panel. Therefore, the prize for 2020 will be awarded in January 2021. Eligibility for the prize is limited to researchers who have not previously published a paper in Occupational Health Southern Africa or any other accredited academic journal. Membership of SASOM is not a criterion. The prize shall be known as The South African Society of Occupational Medicine (SASOM) Annual Author Prize.

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