NIOH has traditionally focused on under served workers and those without access to occupational health care, in addition to providing a referral centre for access to expertise in a wide variety of occupational health disciplines. Financed by public funds, NIOH has served as a centre of excellence within the public health system with emphasis on researching and finding solutions to major occupational health problems, particularly those pertaining to vulnerable groups. There has also been an advocacy role and involvement in the development of legislation, which ranks internationally with the most advanced for worker protection, and policy implementation and evaluation. Within the NHLS, NIOH is a resource to various stakeholders involved in occupational health including the State in its broader context of government departments and academic institutions, labour and industry within South Africa as well as in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The links below highlight a range of currently popular topics within the Institue: