Helping our customers to create safer workplaces means we are always looking for innovative and effective approaches to workplace safety and injury management.

Through our Mutual Benefits Program we have committed $16M to research since 2017 and continue to support research into complex workplace challenges.

Leveraging our expertise in claims management and the input of our customers, we identify key workplace safety and injury management topics to focus on, such as:

  • occupational violence
  • ageing workforce
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • fatigue management
  • wearable technologies

Then we partner with one of Australia’s leading research organisations (such as Phoenix Australia, UNSW, Sydney University, Monash University, University of South Australia, Blokepedia, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute) to conduct a detailed investigation based on claims data and input from some of our customers, to develop recommendations for innovative solutions to be implemented.

One of our recent projects has just completed its first phase and delves into the disturbingly common occurrence of Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVA) in the aged care sector.

Occupational Violence and Aggression (OVA) Phase 1

Last year EML partnered with Phoenix Australia (the national centre of excellence in posttraumatic mental health), to conduct research into OVA. The initial findings highlighted that many healthcare workers have experienced some degree of violence and aggression in their careers; either from those they are caring for and/or from visiting family members or friends.

‘We wanted to explore the education and training needs of aged care organisations, as well as providing Phoenix Australia with greater context regarding the nature of work in aged care, the experience of OVA in residential and community care environments, current training in relation to OVA, and best approaches to training in aged care,’ said Merryn Courtney, Mutual Benefits Partnerships Manager. ‘We also sought information around the resourcing and capacity issues that need to be considered when designing and delivering training in the aged care sector.’

In the video below Alexandra Howard Director, Disaster and Public Health Emergencies Phoenix Australia and Merryn Courtney Mutual Benefits Partnership Manager outline the importance of this research and the vital role EML customers BaptistCare, Bolton Clarke, Bupa, Estia Health and Australia Unity played in the success of this phase of the project, which included scoping interviews, focus groups and an online survey.

Major findings from Phoenix Australia’s survey included:

  • most workers in the aged care sector are female and aged between 35 and 64 years old
  • 7% of respondents were ‘extremely’ concerned about OVA in the workplace, while 35% were somewhat or moderately concerned
  • 95% of respondents were aware of the OVA reporting procedures in their workplace
  • the most likely response to an OVA incident was to tell the person to stop (64%) and to report it to senior staff (82%), with 83% completing an incident or accident form
  • 35% of survey respondents would seek counselling in relation to an OVA incident
  • most (85%) feel able to cope with an OVA event
  • all respondents report being yelled at by family members, while 92% experience the same behaviours from aged care clients.

Where to from here?

We are now working towards phase 2 of this project which will involve potential training options and solutions within an OVA informed framework. We are expanding our terms of reference beyond Aged Care and will involve a range of other professions that are facing the complex issues surrounding OVA.

If you would like more information on this or our other research projects, please contact our team through

Thank you to all our customers who generously take part in research projects to help create safer workplaces and find ways to help injured workers get their lives back sooner.

Support and information

Additional information can be found through Phoenix Australia’s Trauma & Aged Care Support and Information Hub.

Although Phoenix Australia doesn’t provide direct clinical care they have a help page with the details of support organisations and resources. If you or a loved one require immediate support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24/7 counselling and referrals.