Category: Website Info and Updates

You’re Invited to Our 30th Anniversary Party!

February 9th, 2018 by

2018 marks an extremely special year for System Improvements Inc., it’s the year we turn 30. So come join us at the Knoxville Summit and help us celebrate three decades of saving lives!

The celebration will start Wednesday March 1 after the 4:00 pm session, and it will be located right outside the main session hall in the Cumberland Concourse. There will be appetizers, drinks, and Carl Dixon will be there for live entertainment.

Don’t forget to bring your tickets! Blue tickets will be distributed for a prize drawing, and you will receive orange tickets for two free drinks. So get ready to eat, drink, and be merry!

To learn more about the Summit click here or email me at Looking forward to seeing everyone soon.

What do you like about this Blog?

August 27th, 2012 by

What can we do to make this this blog more helpful to you?

Screen Shot 2012-08-27 At 10.43.05 Pm

I can’t guarantee that we will implement every suggestion, but I would like to know what your interests.

The weekly format seems to be popular (not too many e-mails) and the joke is usually the most clicked on item. However, people also seem interested in accident news, root cause analysis tips, and the weekly “How Close to Death” picture or video.

Leave your comments  here (use the comment link below) and let us know your interests in the areas of root cause analysis, performance improvement, safety, quality, equipment reliability, and process excellence.

Thanks for your help providing improvement ideas!

What is Your Favorite Post on the Root Cause Analysis Blog?

January 20th, 2012 by

Copy the web address and leave it here as a comment…

What are the best Root Cause Analysis Blog posts of all time?

October 15th, 2011 by

I would be interested in what you think are the best Root Cause Analysis Blog posts of all time.

To conduct a vote, I would like you to post links to your top 5 Root Cause Analysis Blog posts of all time in the comments section. (Just paste the web address for each topic and people can click on them to see what you think are the best.)

Here are my votes:

1) 7 Secrets of Root Cause Analysis:

2) Root Cause Analysis Tip: Never Have a “Re” Corrective Action:

3) The Curse of Apparent Cause Analysis:

4) What’s Fundamentally Wrong with 5-Whys?:

5) Monday Accident & Lesson Learned: Either You Are Leading the Solution or You Are Part of the Problem:

Now use the comments link below to leave your votes…

Top 10 Most Popular Root Cause Analysis Blog Posts

August 8th, 2011 by

What posts get the most clicks on this blog? Here are the top ten results (by total clicks) from the first half of 2011 …

1. An Example of 5 Whys – Is this Root Cause Analysis? Let Me Know Your Thoughts…

2. How Does TapRooT® Work?

3. 7 Secrets of Root Cause Analysis

4. What’s Fundamentally Wrong with 5-Whys?

5. What’s Wrong with 5-Whys??? – Complete Article

6. Another Example of Why 5-Why’s / Fishbone Diagrams are Bad Root Cause Analysis Systems

7. Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Is a leaking pipe a “root cause”?

8. Jousting Accident Kills One

9. Where Does the Accident Pyramid Come From?

10. Friday Joke: Do You Want This Contractor on Your Job Site?

Some close “runner ups” include …

Can Regulations and Rules Prevent All Accidents? Probably Not.

Hail Damage at SI

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Killed While Investigating an Accident

A Bad Day That Could Have Been Worse

Bag Lost – Root Cause Analysis Opportunity? NO – More like ZERO Quality Improvement.

The 5-Why articles are continual favorites. It seems that because 5-Whys are “easy”, it continues on as a popular techniques even after people discover that the technique does not provide consistent, effective results. Thus people are often searching for articles about 5-Whys and why it doesn’t work.

Other than that, it’s tough to see a link between the results above and what makes a popular post. After all, how did a jousting accident get on the list? And hail damage at SI as a runner up? Seems strange…

To help us know what you like when we write it, please click on the “Like” button below the post to let us know what you like reading.

What’s my favorite? #3 – 7 Secrets of Root Cause Analysis. Read it and see if you agree…

How To Sign Up for the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis LinkedIn Group

March 22nd, 2011 by

Here’s how a LinkedIn member can sign up for the TapRooT® LinkedIn Group …

1. Here’s the link to the group profile:

2. LinkedIn members should see a button bear the top of the page that says “Join Group”. Click it and you will be submitted to the group leader, Chris Vallee, for approval. That should happen fairly quickly (Chris keeps up with his administrator duties.

Then you will receive notifications daily (you can change it to weekly if you want) at the “More” – “My Seetings” tab for the group) of discussions at the site.

Recent topics have included:

… The Nature of Human Nature

… TapRooT® Frame of Mind

… Corrective Action for Culture Change

… Better – A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

So sign up and ask your questions!

Best Regards,


Missing Links on Root Cause Analysis Blog Page

May 17th, 2010 by

While we repair our web site, there are several links missing from the blog pages. So, for a temporary fix, here are links to…

The TapRooT® web site Home page

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Course Information

TapRooT® Summit Info

Information About TapRooT® and User Success Stories

TapRooT® Software

Software Support


The TapRooT® Store

Signing up for Newsletters (Weekly) (Equipment Reliability & Troubleshooting)

Hopefully will have the regular links back up shortly!

TapRooT® Version 5 SnapCharT Tool and Internet Explorer 8

March 18th, 2010 by

The new web-based version of TapRooT® software utilizes a completely rewritten SnapCharT tool.  As a result, there is a script that needs to run the first time you open the tool that adds your internal URL as a trusted site.  However, on machines with Internet Explorer 8 installed, that action needs to be performed manually.  We have an article that details how to do that and it can be found here

Root Cause Analysis Tip: What does excessive lifting mean and is there an easier way to calculate it?

March 3rd, 2010 by

While performing your PROACTIVE TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis, you observe a person loading a pallet with 10′ L x 6″ dia. 30 pound metal pipes by himself. He lifts 30 pipes an hour 3 times a day from a rack waist high to a pallet placed on timbers floor level. This task used to be performed by two loaders before recent lay offs, so you go to the Root Cause category of Excessive Lifting and see these two questions in the Root Cause Tree Dictionary:

* Was the issue related to excessive lifting or force to move an object?

* Did the task require repetitive motion (lifting, twisting, bending, etc.) that lead to a musculoskeletal problem?

Since this is a Proactive Assessment there are no issues yet, so you are asking what is the worst issue that could occur by the lifting movements above? Now what does excessive mean? What would excessive lifting, twisting and bending be? We could bring in an external Ergonomic Expert… or can we use a simple calculation ourselves first?

A simple calculator:


A little more technical:

NIOSH 1991 Lifting Calculator. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 208 KB ZIP*.

201003012227 201003012229

As you start doing these calculations, you should also see another Root Cause under Human Engineering start becoming very apparent: Arrangement / placement.

A question that comes to mind from the Root Cause Dictionary is:

* Did poor arrangement, placement, or situation of equipment, displays, or controls contribute to an issue?

So with these new found calculators and a better understanding of just a little bit of the Root Cause Tree Dictionary is this task a risk or not:

” You observe a person loading a pallet with 10′ L x 6″ dia. 30 pound metal pipes by himself. This task used to be performed by two loaders before recent lay offs.”

Post your response!

New Feature on Root Cause Analysis Blog – Vote for Stories You Like!

February 18th, 2010 by

Picture 11.png

You can now vote for posts that you like at the Root Cause Analysis Blog.

Click on the thumbs up “Like” button under a story to let us know that you like it.

In the future, we can post more stories about things that people say they like.

Thanks for your help in making this blog more interesting for the readers.

Best Regards.


This Blog Wins 5 Pineapple Award from Thinking Problem Management!

February 17th, 2010 by


It’s great when somebody says that your blog site rocks! And the Meerkats at Thinking Problem Management have once again bestowed their highest reward – 5 pineapples – on this blog site.


It takes a lot of work to keep our blog site “rockin’.” I even had to sell my BMW M3 just to keep the Meerkats happy (find the previous award if you are interested). But it’s always worth it if we can keep … “Changing the Way the World Solves Problems” … moving forward to make the world a better place to live.

Top 10 Popular Posts in First Half of 2009

July 28th, 2009 by

There are the most posts for this blog (by number of direct clicks) in the first half of 2009…

1. What’s Wrong with 5-Whys??? – Complete Article

2. An Example of 5 Whys – Is this Root Cause Analysis? Let Me Know Your Thoughts…

Picture 8.png

3. TapRooT®’s April Fool’s Video

Picture 9.png

4. Where Does the Accident Pyramid Come From?

5. What’s Wrong With Cause-and-Effect, 5-Why’s, & Fault Trees

6. Switchgear Electrical Short Video

Picture 11.png

7. Friday Joke: Taking Cell Phone Use While Driving to a Whole New Level

Picture 12.png

8. Friday Joke: Are Any of These Accidents Waiting to Happen in Your House???

9. Golfing Accidents

10. Construction Safety

Please note that many people get a direct RSS feed or just watch the daily page. These stats mainly indicate the results of search engine activity and clicks from the TapRooT® Friends/Experts e-Newsletter.

I will check these statistics again at the end of the year (early January) to see if there is a “trend” in what gets clicked on by readers.

*** Note that we don’t try to change our writing
and posts to to be “more popular” but it is
interesting to see what people read. ***

CSB Launches Redesigned Agency Website

May 29th, 2009 by

The Chemical Safety Board has updated their website with a more powerful search function and access to numerous hi-resolution photos of various accident investigations.  The home page is here.
One way to prevent accidents is to learn from your own mistakes.  However, it is even better to learn from the mistakes of others.  The CSB has some outstanding information available for use in your own training and lessons learned programs.   Don’t miss out on this important improvement resource.

Root Cause Analysis Blog Gets 5 Pineapple Rating from Thinking Problem Management!

October 13th, 2008 by


Picture 20

5 Pineapples (think 5 stars – or a straight A grade point average).

That’s the rating this blog (Root Cause Analysis Blog) received in October from Thinking Problem Management!

That beats The Tom Peters Weblog (3 pineapples) and many others!

We’ll keep up the good work and hope that people keep reading.

TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update Complete!

August 29th, 2008 by

As I hinted at yesterday, we’ve been working hard to get your TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Help File up to date and not corrupting your investigations. Well, we kicked it into high gear and today the update is available!

Click here to download the new TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update! (7.8MB)

For those who already have the last update installed, this simply upgrades the existing copy. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us via the link at the top right of this page. Thanks!

Tech Support Thursday: New Dictionary Update Issue

August 28th, 2008 by

Hello everybody, and welcome to another Tech Support Thursday. This week we’re going to talk about the latest TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update that you may have installed over the past few months.

The update was to bring the Version 4 software and its associated content in-line with the new TapRooT® Dictionary that was released with the latest TapRooT® Book. And while it was updated with the latest wordings and definitions, its formatting turned out to have a few issues. They have to deal with Root Cause Tree® analysis comments and the dictionary formatting. Two things:

  • Bullet points (like the ones I’m using here) should never, ever be copied and pasted into Root Cause Tree® Analysis comments. If you do so, and you save the Causal Factor Root Cause Analysis, you will not be able to successfully import this incident into another installation until that Causal Factor is deleted and the analysis completed again. The bullet point character corrupts the database entry for that Causal Factor. Not rendering it useless on the originating machine, as you can still edit, look, and modify the Causal Factor properties and Root Cause Analysis, but any exported .TS4 files will not import into any other install and you will see a “Run-Time 91” error pop-up when trying to import it.
  • Quotes (” “) that are copied and pasted from the latest Root Cause Dictionary update will also cause this export/import issue. This is due to the character set used in the Dictionary Update.

Note that we’ve disabled any further downloads of the Dictionary Update while progress continues on the fixed version. The good news is, in the next few days you should see an update where you can find the latest version of the TapRooT® Dictionary that won’t corrupt your Root Cause Tree® analysis in the slightest. We’re working hard to get this update to you as soon as possible, as this problem just came to our attention recently.

Thanks for using TapRooT® and keep checking back for that update!


July 17th, 2006 by

TapRooT® Software version 4.0.6 has been out since April. Have you upgraded?

If you are at a licensed company, you should see your license administrator to find out the status (everyone needs to upgrade at the same time).

If you are using the Individual User version of the TapRooT® Software, the update is available on the TapRooT® web site. See:


What Time Is It?

June 11th, 2006 by

I know that with root cause analysis training and investigations all over the world, I sometimes have a hard time figuring out if I can contact my instructors. This site really helps:

May TapRooT(R) Friends/Experts e-Newsletter Posted at Archive

May 18th, 2006 by

There are now 12,325 TapRooT(R) Friends/Experts on the distribution for this e-Newsletter!

To see the May e-Newsletter go to the Archives at:

Here’s a list of the May topics:



MONDAY ACCIDENTS & LESSONS LEARNED (and other topics in the Root Cause Analysis Blog)









The Web Guy

April 2nd, 2005 by

The Web Guy

This entire website was constructed by Paul Sipe (pictured), as may be found when not working on websites!

You can find Paul at Amherst Web Design.

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