Category: Documents

What Management Needs to Know About Process Safety Improvement (or Why We Continue To Have Process Safety Accidents)

May 16th, 2011 by

I’m giving this talk in Bruges, Belgium for Total today and posted a PDF of the talk here so people who attended could get copies of the slides.

Click on the object below to download it…


As usual, the slides don’t tell the whole story. So if you would rather hear this talk, plan to attend the TapRooT® Summit on February 29 – March 2, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Worker drowns in sump; what is in a “good” work plan?

May 9th, 2011 by

Read the Investigation Report published by here Work Safe Alberta:


1. While replacing a sump pump, an experienced work dropped the assembly parts into a sump (pictured below) that was filling continuously with water.

2. In an effort to retrieve the parts that could not be reached within arms length, the worker fall into the sump getting his head and upper body stuck.

3. Workers once finding him in that condition were unable to remove the jammed worker (suction most likely an issue) and had to call rescue.

4. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene.


Findings and Actions from the Report:

7.1 Direct Cause

7.1.1 Worker 1 got stuck head first in the sump and drowned while trying to retrieve a check valve and a rubber hose adapter that had fallen into the sump.

7.2 Contributing Factors

7.2.1 Worker 1 got stuck in the narrow opening of the sump housing.

7.2.2 Worker 1 was unable to safely retrieve the check valve and rubber hose adapter by hand.

7.2.3 At the time of the investigation, water was continually draining into the sump.  The depth of the water in the sump was approximately 76.2 centimeters.

8.2.3 GSS conducted a hazard assessment for sump pump work, developed a “Safe Work Practice for Repair/Replacement” of sump pumps and provided a copy to Occupational Health and Safety.  GSS trained all affected workers in the safe work practice.

8.2.4 GSS complied with all orders issued by Occupational Health and Safety.

So if you were reviewing this report, what should the new Work Plan have included?

… one issue not identified is not blocking the sump access area to prevent assembly parts from being dropped in.

If this were a TapRooT® investigation we would start with a SnapCharT® (a  sequence of events) and then look for the missing best practices that were related to the Causal Factors by using the Root Cause Tree®. These missing best practices would be the foundations of an adequate Work Plan.

Did You Get Your Root Cause Network™ Newsletter Today? Read About Six Common Safety Culture Problems.

April 28th, 2011 by

Just checking to see if TapRooT® Users got their Root Cause Network™ Newsletter today. I think you will find the Six Common Culture Problems story on page one both interesting and helpful when assessing culture issues.

Here’s a copy for download if you didn’t get yours by e-mail:

May 11 Nl

Just click on the document above to download it.

Friday Joke: Here's Thinking of You

April 15th, 2011 by

On tax day you may feel depressed, overburdened, unloved. You don’t have to feel that way. Just watch this PowerPoint sent to me by a TaprooT® User …


Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: UK RAIB Has 8 Recommendations for Track Maintenance Issue

April 4th, 2011 by

The report from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch is titled:

Derailment of an engineering train between Gloucester Road and Earl’s Court stations on London Underground 12 May 2010

To read the report that includes eight recommendations, see:

Potential Human Factors Root Cause of the Deepwater Horizon Accident

March 31st, 2011 by

One of the interesting avenues of questioning that TapRooT® would lead investigators to is the human factors involved in detecting that a blowout was starting while the well displacement was in progress.

Two people had indications that could have detected the blowout starting and could have helped those in control of the well maintain control of the well or shut the well in before a blowout occurred.

Therefore, investigators should be looking at the human factors of the detection of a well blowout.

I was reviewing information on the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation site and found these pictures …




Screen Shot 2011-03-31 At 12.02.44 Pm

The first three graphs are fairly easy to interpret. Especially with the clearly marked notes with arrows pointing to the applicable trends. The last one is a typical multiple pen strip chart that is difficult to interpret.

So my question would be … “What do the real indicators look like?”

The displays and alarms are a big deal for this accident. This could be a major reason why the crew didn’t detect the blow out starting when they could have taken action.

Does anyone have actual pictures of the type of indicators they would be using? I’d love to have a look at them. If you have them, contact me by clicking here.

Deepwater Horizon – Macondo Well Blowout – Chief Counsel's Report

February 22nd, 2011 by

The Chief Counsel has released a more detailed report about the Deepwater Horizon blowout. See it at:

So far I can’t get the whole report to download, but I can download the separate chapters. Once again, a massive report … This time over 350 pages with animation of certain key technical issues.

A Note in Portuguese from our Brazilian Instructor Boris Risnic

February 2nd, 2011 by

Here’s a note about the upcoming course in Brazil from Boris Risnic …

Taproot Visao Geral 2D

Mark’s Initial Comments on the President’s Commission Report on the BP Deepwater Horizon Accident

January 18th, 2011 by

I didn’t make it very far into the report before the political tone became apparent.

In the second paragraph of the first section (the Forward), the report says:

A treasured American landscape, already battered and degraded from years of mismanagement, faced yet another blow as the oil spread and washed ashore.

These type of political statements and adjectives that can easily agitate public opinion are common throughout the first three chapters that I read this weekend. My opinion is that an accident report should stand on the facts. Perhaps Chapter 4 will present them – I’m still reading.

However, the Editors of The Wall Street Journal were not convinced. In an article in the “Review & Outlook” of the editorial page titled: “Gulf Political Spill”, they said:

Unable to name what difinitively caused the well failure, the commission resorts to a hodgepodge of speculation.”

It also says:

Its [the report’s] section ‘The Root Causes: Failures in Industry and Government’ uses questionable decisions made by the Macondo players to suggest, with no evidence, that such behavior is the industry norm.”

Toward the end of the editorial, it says:

The unbalanced, tendentious nature of the commission report vindicates those who suspected from the start that this was all a political exercise.

They conclude the WSJ editorial with:

The BP spill was a tragedy that should be diagnosed with a goal of preventing a repeat, not in order to all but shut down an industry that is vital to U.S. energy supplies and the livelihood of millions on the Gulf Coast.”

What I’d suggest is that you read the 398 page report for yourself and leave your comments here based on your own observations. Let me know what you think.

To download the report, go to:

President's Commission Releases Report on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

January 18th, 2011 by

Here are the important links to download the report …
First, download the report at:

Full Report Download Page

Staff Working Papers Page

But the report cites another report still to be written – The Chief Counsel’s Report. The final report references this report for more about the facts of the investigation. There is a place to request notification when the Chief Counsel’s Report is completed on the full report download page.

Friday Joke: The Blame Oriented Alternative to TapRooT®

January 14th, 2011 by

Sometimes people ask me what the most popular problem solving system (besides TapRooT®) is. That easy! Blame.

Here’s a self-executing PowerPoint to help you understand the concept …


Screen Shot 2011-01-07 At 3.23.24 Pm

Is this the way  your employees view your root cause analysis?

Environmental Groups Blast Louisiana Refineries for “Accidents” Reported to the LA Dept of Environmental Quality

December 14th, 2010 by

Here’s the story from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

While the groups complain about under-reporting, they then turn around to say that the numbers reported show that a BP Texas City type accident could threaten workers and local residents.

What do you think? A fair use of data or a political hit job?

Safe Holiday Wish PowerPoint

December 2nd, 2010 by

I post several Holiday Safety PowerPoints that were given to me by TapRooT® Users. They are yours for toolbox holiday safety meetings.

Here is the first:


Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Technical Investigation Report concerning the Fire on Eurotunnel Freight Shuttle 7412 on 11 September 2008

November 22nd, 2010 by

See the joint report by the French Bureau d’enquêtes sur les Accidents de transport terrestre and the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch at:

Taking Improvement to the Next Level

October 27th, 2010 by

You really need to be at this talk to hear what I have to say. This PowerPoint is for the attendees to remind them of what they heard…


Lessons Learned from Rickover About Process Safety/Nuclear Safety

October 22nd, 2010 by

Rickover’s ideas are still applicable and controversial today. Here’s the slides from the talk I’m giving at the Summit…


Prioritizing Improvements

October 21st, 2010 by

Here’s the “kick off” slides from a discussion we will be having at the Summit…


Welcome to the TapRooT® Summit

October 21st, 2010 by

The Summit starts next Wednesday, but I’ll be posting some of the talks so that people attending the Sumnmit can print them to take notes and preview what they will hear.

Caution: A PowerPoint of a talk isn’t the same as a talk. I know in my talks, there are things that are said that make the slides “come alive.” Also, some of the bullets on the slides are “for discussion.” They aren’t meant as a final conclusion, but rather as a starting point. Therefore, these talks should be observed and participated in at the Summit rather than being read as a final statement.

here is the Summit intro talk that will be delivered by Mark Paradies, Linda Unger, Ed Skompski, Ken Reed, Chris Vallee, and David Janney.


UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch Publishes a Report on the Derailment at Dingwall, Scotland, 22 January 2010

September 30th, 2010 by


Blame Culture and Deepwater Horizon Accident

September 23rd, 2010 by

Safety & Health Practitioner (the official magazine of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health) published an article titled: “Blame culture prominent on Transocean rigs“.

The first paragraph said:

A culture of fear and blame is rife across the operations of offshore drilling contractor Transocean, according to a leaked HSE inspection report.

Wow! That’s certainly an “explosive” claim. Especially with the weight of the UK Health and Safety Executive behind it.

For the complete story, see:

Connect with Us

Filter News

Search News


Angie ComerAngie Comer


Barb CarrBarb Carr

Editorial Director

Chris ValleeChris Vallee

Human Factors

Dan VerlindeDan Verlinde

VP, Software

Dave JanneyDave Janney

Safety & Quality

Garrett BoydGarrett Boyd

Technical Support

Ken ReedKen Reed

VP, Equifactor®

Linda UngerLinda Unger


Mark ParadiesMark Paradies

Creator of TapRooT®

Per OhstromPer Ohstrom

VP, Sales

Shaun BakerShaun Baker

Technical Support

Steve RaycraftSteve Raycraft

Technical Support

Wayne BrownWayne Brown

Technical Support

Success Stories

TapRooT® is a key part of our safety improvement program that has helped us stop injuries and save lives.

Canyon Fuel Company

An improvement plan was developed and implemented. Elements of the improvement plan included process…

Exelon Nuclear
Contact Us