Author Archives: Dave Janney
Hello and welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tip. This week the topic is doing better investigations.
The most important thing you can do for better investigations is to use TapRooT®! But assuming you already do that, here are some more tips that I hope will help.
The first thing to think about is preparation – does your company have an investigation policy and does everyone know their roles and responsibilities? In other words, do you have a plan? The time to develop your plan is not after you have had a major incident! You can refer to Appendix A of the TapRooT® book for a sample plan; however, I would imagine most of you already have a plan at your company, so your preparation is simple – read the plan and understand it.
Think about Notification – Who, and under what circumstances? Let senior management know someone’s working on the investigation. You can share the preliminary information as well. Set expectation that it may take some time. They’ll often back off and let you do your job if you tell them these things.
Plan your investigation – what kind of photos, documents, equipment reliability data do you need? Plan what data to collect and how you’re going to collect that data.
So now you are ready to start your investigation. The best thing you can do to have a good investigation is to have a really good SnapCharT®. Most of the time you spend in an investigation is spent collecting evidence and putting it on your chart. Interviewing is an important part of evidence collection. Follow our 14-Step interview process, it’s in the book. The best way to interview is to let the person tell their story, they may answer your questions without you even needing to ask. If you only ask questions, you’ll only get the answers to your questions and nothing else.
View Part 2 of Dave’s tip on Performing Better Investigations!
Steve Swarthout and I are teaching the 5 day course this week in Niagara Falls. Here are some pictures of Steve teaching and students working on their first exercise:
Why not join us for a future course? You can see the schedule and register HERE
Welcome to this week’s root cause tips. This week I would like to talk about the SnapCharT®
As you know, the SnapCharT® is the tool I use to plan my investigation, document my evidence, and present the incident to management. It’s a powerful yet easy tool to help in each of these areas.
First, let’s talk form. One of the common problems I see when people first start developing a SnapCharT® is trying to get too much information in a small space. I normally start the first page with no more than 4-5 events across the top of the page. As you continue to develop your timeline, you will soon know if you need to more pages, but the software also knows and will create the page for you. It is much easier to add your evidence if you leave plenty of room to work. If you try to put 10 events at the top of your page you will soon run out of space for your evidence. Your chart will be cluttered, hard to digest, and impossible to present with. I want to see a lot of evidence, but I want it to be organized and look good. This will make it much easier to read and understand it as I use the information later for my root cause analysis.
I’ve already said there should be a lot of evidence on the chart. Everything you know about the incident should be there. If you have been to a TapRooT® course before, you know that we always do a final exercise, and as part of the exercise the instructor will approve your causal factors. When I do this, sometimes the discussion begins with a student saying “let me tell you what happened” at which point I say STOP! – I should be table to tell what happened by reading your SnapCharT®! As I review it and start to ask questions, answers pour out of the team, but some of that information is not on the chart. Make sure everything is there. That way you will not forget anything when you do your analysis, and you will get fewer questions when presenting. And, make sure everything on the chart is factual.
Next, wording matters. Don’t be vague, be very specific. Don’t say it was hot; say it was 90 degrees. Use job titles or functions instead of names to reduce blame. Be very clear with your wording so someone who knows nothing about the incident can tell from your wording exactly what you mean. Get good at using the words ‘”did not” to describe things that were supposed to happen but did not; this will make causal factor identification much easier later in the process.
I try to assemble all my evidence directly below the event in a straight line so it is very easy to read and is arranged into nice groups of information. It is permissible to have two rows of information if it makes sense to do that, but I find that this is not always needed. When it is, make sure each row of information goes together in a logical group; for example, you might have a group with all the training information and another group with all the policy information. If you have been to a 5 day TapRooT® course, you might remember when we talk about procedures we say “the burden of written communication is on the writer, not the reader.” SnapCharT®s are no different!
Optionally, you might elect to put safeguards on your chart. Resist the temptation to only put failed safeguards. In fact, showing safeguards that worked on your chart for your management presentations is a great way of showing two things; what is working in the business, and that the incident could have been worse.
If you have been to a TapRooT® course, you have heard this before, but it is worth repeating – draw your lines last! If you draw your lines too early and you end up having to move things around, you will end up having to delete them. Don’t work any harder than you need to.
The last thing I want to address is the use of colors. It is fine to use colors if you want, but be careful and use light colors. If you use a dark color, it may look fine on your computer, but when you go to present people may not to be able to read it on the screen. I have seen people show causal factors in a different color in their presentations, and that is a great way to bring that information out. I say that you cannot go wrong with black and white. Then again, I am obsessed with simplicity, and I know not everyone is wired that way. Do what makes sense for you.
So that’s it for this week. I hope some of this information is helpful. Thanks for readying the blog, and happy investigating.
Derek Rutherford and I are teaching the 5 day course this week in Munich. We are off to a great start on day one, here are some pictures from this morning:
We hold courses all over the world, so why not join us for a future course? You can view the schedule and register HERE
Dan Verlinde and I are teaching the 5 day course this week in Gatlinburg. Here are some pictures of the students working on day one root cause exercises:
Wny not plan to join us for the next course? You can see the schedule and register HERE
Hello and welcome to this week’s root cause tip.
Root Cause Analysis is no different than any other program at your company in that it requires management support. And to get support you must first have understanding.
In a perfect world, managers understand root cause analysis because they have been trained, so the best thing you can do is convince them to attend training. If you are having an onsite TapRooT® course, open it to more people, including managers. Even those who might not actually do investigations should understand the process and how root causes were determined, that way when they see a report later they will understand. A two day TapRooT® course would be fine for managers in that situation.
If you can’t convince them to attend, show them an example of a completed investigation and how you drove the evidence down to root cause and got to corrective actions. If you can show how you solved an important and/or ongoing problem, that will make your case much stronger. Which brings me to another point; sometimes you have to show people that you do have problems that need to be solved, so use your metrics to do that. Incidents, near misses, audit findings, hazard reports, and many other sources of data are available to you to make the case. If people do not see a compelling reason to change, they won’t.
Managers must also understand that blame and discipline is like fixing your problems one person at a time. Until you can show them to how to get to the true root cause level, they might not understand this.
Managers speak the language of money. If they understand just how much money is being saved by improving, they will be your advocates.
Managers should also understand how root cause analysis ties in to the organization’s goals; maybe it is cost reduction or maybe it is a key metric other than money. Show how your efforts make a difference.
This is food for thought but more so a call to action. Tell your managers today how important root cause analysis is, educate them, and enlist their support. You will be glad you did. Thanks for reading this week’s root cause analysis tip, and happy investigating.
I am teaching the 5 day course in Doha this week. Here are some pictures of the day one exercises and the day two cognitive interviewing exercise:
Our next courses in the Middle East will be in Doha in October and Dubai in December. Both courses all already half full, so if you want to attend, you should register as soon as possible. You can register HERE
I am in Dubai this week teaching the 2 day course. Here are some pictures of the students working on first day activities:
This course filled, so I’m sorry if we could not accomodate you. Our courses in the Middle East fill so if you want to join us this year, you should register as soon as possible. You can see the schedule and register HERE
I am in Philadelphia this week teaching the 2 day course. Here are some pictures of day one activities:
Why not join us for the next course? You can see the schedule and register HERE
Derek Rutherford and I are teaching the 5 day course in London this week. Here are some pictures from day one activities:
Why not join us for the next course? To see our schedule and register, click HERE
If you are planning to be at Interphex in New York in March, please stop by the TapRooT® booth and say hello. Chris Vallee and I will both be there.
If you are attending the conference, I hope you will also attend my talk, “the seven secrets of root cause analysis” on March 19 at 4:00 PM.
If you have not registered for the conference, you can register as our guest with our compliments for access to the exhibit hall. To take advantage of this opportunity, just go here:
Dave Davis and I are teaching the 5 day course in “Nawlins” this week. Here are some pictures of Dave teaching and the students working on a root cause analysis of a vehicle accident:
We hope to see you in a future course; to see our schedules and for registration, click HERE
I am in San Antonio this week for the National Rural Electric Association Safety Leadership conference. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the TapRooT® Booth. It was our pleasure to be a sponsor for the event.
A special thank you to Mike Williams from the Colorado Rural Electric Association for his presentation on incident investigation and all the positive comments about TapRooT®
The next time you attend a conference, check to see if we are there and stop by and see us! Chris Vallee and I will be at INTERPHEX in New York in March; Chris, Megan Craig, and I will be as the ASQ conference in May in Dallas; and Linda Unger, Michelle Wishoun, and Benna Dortch will be at the ASSE conference in Orlando in June. We look forward to seeing you.
Dan Verlinde and I are teaching the 5 day course this week in Pittsburgh. Here are some pictures of the day one activities:
Why not join us for the next course? You can see the schedule and enroll HERE
Ralph Blessing and I are teaching the 2 day course in Atlanta this week. Here are some pictures of the day 1 activities:
We still have a few courses this year, but they are starting to fill up, so if you want to join us, please register as soon as possible. You can see the schedule HERE
This week brings us to Austin, Texas for the 2 day course. Here are some pictures of the day one activities:
We are entering into our busiest time of the year, and courses are filling quickly, so if you still want to be trained this year, you should enroll right away. Here is the schedule and enrollment link: SCHEDULE AND ENROLLMENT
Jonathan Ellgass and I are in Dayton teaching the 2 day course today. Here are some pictures of the day one activities:
Why not join us for the next course? You can see the schedule HERE
Best Practices for Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities Using TapRooT® Course coming in October!Posted: September 3rd, 2013 in Courses, Current Events
The course was developed in response to TapRooT® User requests to help them stop fatalities and serious injuries.
Many TapRooT® Users have multiple programs to improve safety. Yet, despite their best efforts, they continued to have rare but troubling serious injuries and fatalities. Some even had statistics that showed improvements in their lost time rate were not proportional to improvement in their fatality rate. Lost time injuries had been reduced more than serious injuries.
Mark Paradies, President of System Improvements, went to work to discover why this phenomenon might exist and what TapRooT® Users could do to focus on serious injury prevention. His discoveries could refocus your safety improvement efforts.
To share the new insights he worked with Dave Janney (former safety leader at Delta Air Lines) and created an interactive course to share practical methods to focus on your most pressing issues and achieve sustained safety improvement.
The course will be held in Knoxville, TN on October 24-25. To enroll in the course, click HERE
Jonathan Ellgass and I are teaching the 5 day course here in Dallas this week. Here are some pictures of the day one activities:
Why not join us for the next course? You can see the schedule and register HERE
Kevin Palardy and I are teaching the 2 day course this week in Calgary, Here are pictures of Kevin teaching and the students working on exercises:
We are entering our busy time of the year and our courses are starting to fill up in the fall, so my advice to you if you want to attend a course this year would be to enroll as soon as possible. To see the schedule and enroll, click HERE
Ken Turnbull and I are teaching the 2 day course this week in Houston. Here are some pictures of Ken teaching and the students working on their first exercise:
This course filled up, so if you wanted to attend and could not, I’m sorry. Our courses have really been filling up, so if you want to attend a course this year I recommend you enroll as soon as possible. You can see our schedule and enroll HERE