Author Archives: Barb Phillips

Friday Joke

Posted: May 26th, 2017 in Jokes

You must be relatively short to enter the void so I’m safe. How about you?


Interviewing & Evidence Collection Tip: The Value of a Planning SnapCharT®

Posted: May 24th, 2017 in Accidents, Investigations, Root Cause Analysis Tips

Hello and welcome to our new weekly column focused on interviewing and evidence collection for root cause analysis of workplace incidents and accidents.

If you are a TapRooT® user, you know that the SnapCharT® is the first step in conducting a root cause investigation.  It doesn’t matter if you’re investigating a simple incident or major accident – SnapCharT® is always the starting line.

A SnapCharT® is a simple method for drawing a sequence of events.  It can be drawn on sticky notes or in the TapRooT® software.  Sometimes we refer to the SnapCharT® in it’s initial stages as a “planning” SnapCharT®. So why is a SnapCharT® essential for evidence collection and interviewing?

When you begin an investigation, you are working with suppositions, assumptions and second hand information. The planning SnapCharT® will guide you to who you need to interview and what evidence you need to collect to develop a factual sequence of events and appropriate conditions that explain what happen during the incident. Remember, a fact is not a fact until it is supported by evidence.  

The planning SnapCharT® is used to:

  • develop an initial picture of what happened.
  • decide what information is readily available and what needs to be collected immediately.
  • establish a list of potential witnesses to interview.
  • highlight conflicts that exist in the preliminary information.
  • plan the next steps of interviewing and evidence collection.

The SnapCharT® provides the foundation for solid evidence collection.  Learn how to create a SnapCharT® by reading, “Using the Essential TapRooT® Techniques to Investigate Low-to-Medium Risk Incidents or contact me about registering for our 1-day Interviewing and Evidence Collection Course in Houston, Texas on November 8, 2017.  We also offer this course as a one or two-day onsite course that can be customized for your investigators.

How has SnapCharT® helped you plan your investigative interviews and evidence collection?  If you’ve never used a SnapCharT®, how do you think a planning SnapCharT® would be helpful to you? Comment below and be entered into our August drawing to win a copy of our new “Evidence Collection and Interviewing Techniques to Sharpen Investigation Skills” book!

See you next week!

What does a bad day look like?

Posted: May 23rd, 2017 in Accidents

It could start like this! One of our instructors captured this photo. It would only take a second for this scenario to turn into a very bad day.

Monday Motivation: 4 Tips to Help you Stand Out in an Interview

Posted: May 22nd, 2017 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

You are not your resume, you are your work. ~ Seth Godin

It’s easy to make anyone look good on paper, isn’t it?  As a former resume writer, I know it can be done. However, a resume only gets a person an interview, not a job. If you want the job, you better be prepared to talk about your work.

Here are four tips on how to represent your work in an interview.

  1. Tell a story. Begin with an unfavorable situation like “poor performance” or “high incident rate” and follow with a statement on what you did to overcome it. Finish the story with the successful result. Prospective employers remember stories.
  2. Quantify. Quantify. Quantify. Use percentages and hard measures where you can. For example, say “decreased machinery down time by 80%” rather than “decreased machinery down time.” Percentages are higher impact than absolute numbers.
  3. Speak up. Don’t assume the interviewer has read your resume. In a perfect world, they do, but often there is only time for a precursory glance. Highlight your achievements verbally and be specific with details.
  4. Get TapRooT® training. Talk about the success you’ve experienced using TapRooT®.  Investigators who are TapRooT® trained bring a unique set of problem-solving skills to the workplace that will set you apart.  Learn more about training here.

Friday Joke

Posted: May 19th, 2017 in Jokes

Need some solitude?


Interviewing & Evidence Collection: The Cognitive Interview

Posted: May 15th, 2017 in Root Cause Analysis Tips

In this video, we highlight Step 6 of the TapRooT® 12-Step Process: the cognitive interviewing technique.

Friday Joke

Posted: May 12th, 2017 in Jokes

Major or minor, we got you covered.


Root Cause Analysis Resource for Low-to-Medium Risk Incidents

Posted: May 11th, 2017 in Root Causes

Our recent release, Using the Essential TapRooT® Techniques to Investigate Low-to-Medium Risk Incidents, is in it’s second printing! This popular book helps investigators develop a clear sequence of events, identify causal factors, find the real root causes and develop corrective actions that work.

Course attendees also receive this book in our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training and our 2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis training.  The book may also be purchased from the web store as part of a set (with our Major Investigation book):

It is the most practical tool any investigator can have on his/her desk to refresh his/her knowledge and is written in an easy-to reference format.  Do you have a copy of the new book?  Comment below with your thoughts.


What does a bad day look like?

Posted: May 9th, 2017 in Accidents

Well, it could start with shenanigans like this.

Friday Joke

Posted: May 5th, 2017 in Jokes

Take it easy today, friends.


What does a bad day look like?

Posted: May 2nd, 2017 in Accidents

It could begin innocently enough.

TapRooT® Around the World

Posted: May 2nd, 2017 in TapRooT

Systems Improvements/TapRooT® was a proud sponsor of Girls, Inc. Knoxville at their fundraising event last Friday.

Girls, Inc. is a national organization dedicated to helping girls realize their potential and exercise their rights. Learn more about them at:

Cirrus Aircraft was one of the sponsors as well. Pictured here is our Chief Financial Officer, Cherie Larson, and her spouse, Paul.

What does a bad day look like?

Posted: April 25th, 2017 in Accidents

Well, it could start like this…

Remembering an Accident: Oppau Explosion in Germany

Posted: April 21st, 2017 in Accidents

The explosion occurred September 21, 1921, when a silo that was storing 4,500 tonnes of an ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixture exploded at the Oppau plant in Germany. It killed between 500 – 600 people and there were about 2,000+ people who were injured. The blast was felt for miles, damaging the factory and the surrounding community.

What Happened? 

In 1911 the plant was producing ammonium sulfate when Germany was unable to obtain the necessary sulfur during WWI. It was also producing ammonium nitrate during the same time period. The combination of the two plus the pressure of its own weight, turned the mixture into a plaster-like substance.

The workers had to take pickaxes to remove the plaster-like substance from inside the silos. To make their work easier the workers took small charges of dynamite to loosen the mixture. Before the explosion happened it was estimated that there where as many as 20,000 firings before that fatal day. It is now a well known fact that ammonium nitrate is highly explosive even when mixed, due to this tragic incident.

To read more about this tragic accident please click on the link below.

To find out how to find and fix root causes at your facility to avoid disasters large and small, visit:

TapRooT® in Krakow

Posted: April 19th, 2017 in Courses, Pictures

Here are some recent photos from our class in Krakow, Poland.

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