Ian Thorley
Founder, Safety Leadership


CEO of Estia Health 2018-2022
Over 30 years health and aged care experience in Australia and overseas
Held CEO and COO roles in diagnostic services, aged care (Estia and Opal) and private hospital groups.
Consulted to health insurers, health logistics and health recruitment groups and served as a Non-Executive Director in private equity owned and ASX listed companies


Safety Leadership in Aged Care: Improving Safety, Driving Retention, Reducing Costs

The aged care labour force is a key strategic issue

Injury rates in aged care are high – staff perceive them to be getting worse
– The Prime Minister’s Draft National Care and Support Economy Strategy 2023 noted that there is significant room for improving workplace safety in care industries
– average Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) in aged care is 24.8 more than double the LTIFR in hospitals (12.1) and Construction (9.6)
– some aged care providers manage safety well

Workers compensation costs are rising and are likely to continue to rise
– Victoria has announced a 42% increase in premiums
– In NSW, icare has stated that premiums need to increase by 22%
– aged care workers rates of pay are increasing (as they should!)

Safety is a robust indicator of the strength of a workplace culture
– Better safety = stronger culture (higher engagement and improved retention/lower turnover)
– Better safety = lower costs

Safety is a key part of ESG reporting

Lessons learned on the journey to better safety – insights from Ian Thorley, CEO of Estia until 2022, Harley Wright (ex Opal CFO) and Heather Napier (ex Opal Head of Safety)
– Leadership is key; practical steps to safety leadership and a robust safety culture
– How to measure and benchmark safety
– Initiatives that really work (and those that don’t!)