Lately, several people asked me how to get started when setting up a program for incident investigation, proactive improvement, and root cause analysis. Often this is accompanied by the statement that they have been directed to develop an incident investigation policy.

My answer? Simple. Four ideas:

1. Start by reading Chapter 6 of the TapRooT(R) Book and then look at the sample policy in Appendix A.

A book chapter and an Appendix are too much to post here, but the book is extremely helpful. I know that if you purchase it, you will find it worthwhile.

2. Attend a 5-Day TapRooT(R) Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course. Anyone writing their company policy should attend this course FIRST – before you write a policy. When you attend the course, you will get the TapRooT(R) Book, so you can also take care of item one above.

3. If I could swing it, I would also attend the TapRooT(R) Summit. Why? Networking and best practices. The best track for someone interested in developing an incident investigation, proactive improvement, and root cause analysis program would be the Corrective Action Program Track. In the session you will meet many people who have developed root cause analysis and corrective action programs and they can give you many tips on what worked well for them and what didn’t. It save a great deal of time and effort to learn from the best practices and mistakes of others.

4. I would also attend the Pre-Summit Advanced Trending Techniques Course. Anyone setting up a program need to know about advanced trending techniques and how they need to set up their program so that the trending will be meaningful and help management improve plant performance.

What about an EASY ANSWER?

I know that you would have liked my answer better if I would have said I have a one page guide that is all you will ever need to set up your performance improvement program. Unfortunately, there is a lot to think about when you set up an incident investigation / proactive improvement / root cause analysis program. And you are much better off working hard to set up an outstanding program rather than just adopting the first easy answer that comes along.

So do your homework, set up an outstanding program, and see how much good it can do for safety, quality, productivity, and equipment reliability at your site.