Caddies are an essential part of the golf industry, which contributes over R58.4 billion to the South African economy. However, caddies are informal workers who are often marginalised. They do not benefit from occupational health and safety regulations or labour laws, have no or limited access to social protection and health care, especially in low to middle income countries. In addition, informal workers have very little control of hazardous exposures in their working environment. Thus, they generally have a higher health risk profile compared to formal economy workers.
There has been a dearth of research conducted among caddies internationally. This is the first study in South Africa that aimed to assess working conditions and health outcomes of caddies and non-caddy staff in selected Johannesburg golf courses. Specific objectives included a description of the socio-economic profile and the assessment of exposures including exposure to pesticides. In addition, the following health outcomes were assessed:
- acute respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms,
- chronic diseases such as hypertension,
- common mental diseases (depression and anxiety) and
This cross sectional survey was conducted in November 2018 in six golf courses in Johannesburg, South Africa and included a total of 249 male caddies and 74 male non-caddies (waiters, groundsmen, security staff).