Root Cause Analysis Blog


Defense Argues Jail Time is Wrong

Posted: October 28th, 2016 in Accidents, Current Events, Pictures

The Associate Press reported that attorneys for Don Blankenship, the imprisoned former CEO of Massey Energy, should not have been sentenced to go to jail for the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 people.

Read more here:

Note that I found this “wanted poster” on line at


October Trivia Contest Winner

Posted: October 28th, 2016 in Contest


We tested your all’s knowledge of TapRooT® VI software with a fun trivia contest. We had several responses, most of which that were correct! Way to know your TapRooT® software! But there can only be one winner.

So, we had a random drawing from the list of correct responses and the winner is…

Cortney Stroffolino- Congratulations!

Stay tuned for our next blog contest. You could be our next winner!

Technically Speaking – TapRooT® from a Non-Technical User’s Perspective

Posted: October 27th, 2016 in Software, Technical Support, Technically Speaking

If you can appreciate modern technology but can’t quite keep up with the techy-lingo and new innovations, join the club. That’s why the IT world created the term “user-friendly”, for not-so-technical people like us. We need a little extra help and that’s ok. If everyone was tech-savvy, we wouldn’t have our trusty IT Departments.

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard that here at TapRooT® the latest software (TapRooT® VI) has been released, and it is full of cool features to make your investigations more efficient and organized. As the tech-outsider, I wanted to let you all in on a few tips and tricks to make your TapRooT® software experience that much more “user-friendly”.

Top 5 Life Changing Shortcuts:

  1. The Mass Highlight
    Did you know you can highlight multiple items in your SnapCharT® to move them simultaneously? The days of tediously moving each individual event & condition are over. Just click anywhere on the SnapCharT® grid, drag and highlight as many items as needed. You’ll notice that now each item has been simultaneously selected so you can click and drag the entire group together. Voila!
    mass highlight
  2. Ctrl A, Ctrl C & Ctrl V
    Keyboard shortcuts can be helpful in speeding up the process of copying and pasting text. Once your cursor is in the event or condition, simply type Ctrl A to “Select All” –> Ctrl C to “Copy” –> place cursor in the new area where you wish to paste your text –> type Ctrl V to “Paste” –> done!
    No more right clicks. (Side note: this is helpful for everyday use, not just in TapRooT® software)
    Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 10.28.47 AM
  3. Making Connections
    Once you’ve created each event and condition, you’re ready to link them together. This one might seem obvious, but it was a little tricky for me. If you click on the box, the blue dots around the edges appear. Those are used to expand or contract the box. If you hover over the box, you’ll notice X’s appear around the edges instead. Those are used for linking. Simply hover over the box, click on the necessary X and drag to the box you wish to link it to.
  4. Adding Events
    The first time I made a SnapCharT® in TapRooT® VI, every time I needed a new event I would double-click to create it, drag the box to line up with the others then link them together. Now, that is definitely one way to do it, but did you know there’s a much quicker way? When you hover over an event, blue arrows appear on the outside of the box. If you click on one of those arrows, a new event box that is perfectly lined up and already linked magically appears.
    blue arrows
  5. Shape Defaults
    If you’re like me, you’re a visual person, so making the events yellow and conditions blue is helpful. But, you don’t want to have to click and change the color of each individual event and condition. Luckily there’s a simple fix. Go to Settings (gear symbol in upper right hand corner) –> Shape Defaults –> Select a shape –> Set default settings to whatever you’d like –> Click Apply Changes. Now each time you create a new event or condition they will automatically appear the way you wanted.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 10.36.54 AM


Now go forth and impress your IT friends with your newfound tech-savviness.

Technically Speaking is a weekly series that highlights our TapRooT® VI software and occasionally includes a little Help Desk humor.

Remember, just because it’s technical, doesn’t mean it has to be complicated!

Enter Our Trivia Contest!

Posted: October 25th, 2016 in Contest


Our next contest is some trivia about the new TapRooT® VI software! Test your knowledge of just a few of the newest features offered in this incredible software.

Follow the link to the trivia, answer and enter to win. You could be the lucky winner!

Deadline: October 28



Prepare your Investigation Results for Management

Posted: October 24th, 2016 in Presentations, Root Cause Analysis Tips

presentation-36911_1280After you’ve concluded a TapRooT® investigation, preparing your investigation results for management doesn’t have to be a chore.  If you have TapRooT® software, you can avoid creating a Powerpoint completely!  Learn how here.

If you prefer to add content to a PowerPoint, the TapRooT® tools that helped you complete your investigation will also help you create a presentation that gets their attention.  Here is a simple guideline of what content to add from your TapRooT® investigation:

  • After your introduction slide, clearly and simply state the incident and the determined results in two to three sentences.
  • On the next slide, present a small section of your SnapCharT® that explains the incident.  For most incidents, it will include four to six Events (Squares) leading up to the incident, as well as the the incident (Circle), and one or two Events that occurred after the Incident.  Only present the first line of the SnapCharT® (the Events) on this slide.
  • Then add slides with visuals.  You have already documented evidence through photographs and videos and maybe even sketched arrangement/placement in Steps 1 and 2 of the TapRooT® 7-Step Major Investigation Process.  You can use these items as Powerpoint visuals.  But how many should you use?  Use the visuals that most clearly support your results – just a few will suffice depending on the complexity of the incident.
  • Then present slides that contain each section of your SnapCharT® that includes a Causal Factor – one Causal Factor section per slide.  Include Events and Conditions this time.  Write the Root Cause next to each Causal Factor determined.  Do not present the Root Cause Tree.  Why?  Because then you are providing a pick-list for management to analyze and they have not put in the hours analyzing the SnapCharT® and finding supporting evidence.
  • Finally, create a slide that presents your Corrective Actions in an easy-to-read column or table format.  For example, list the Root Cause in Column 1, the Corrective Action in Column 2 and who will implement the Corrective Action (and the deadline for implementation) in Column 3.

To practice preparing and presenting results to management, sign up for our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.  You can even bring a real incident from your facility!

Users Share Best Practices: Understanding and Applying TapRooT®

Posted: October 24th, 2016 in Root Cause Analysis Tips, Summit, Summit Videos, Video Depot

Our 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit was a great success this year! Our attendees helped one another by sharing some of their best practices. Brent Cothran describes how his company trains all new employees on the TapRooT® process.

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Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: How Can Automation Get You Into Trouble?

Posted: October 24th, 2016 in Accidents, Current Events, Investigations


Automation dependency is an interesting topic. Here’s what a recent CALLBACK from the Aviation Safety Reporting System had to say about the topic…

Remembering an Accident: Nedelin Catastrophe

Posted: October 24th, 2016 in Accidents

On October 24, 1960 at the Baikonur Test Range in Russia, a massive explosion occurred in the testing of the Soviet ICBM R-16 missile. The second-stage engine ignited, detonating the first-stage fuel tanks (which had not been drained) directly beneath it causing this catastrophic explosion. Any and all military men and test-range employees working on it were immediately incinerated. Unfortunately the fire and fumes spread so quickly that all over men on the range were killed soon after. However, this missile was a secret project therefore the explosion had to remain a secret. It wasn’t exposed in a magazine article until April 1989.

Is taking a shortcut like not draining the fuel tanks resourceful? No. It’s dangerous and cost the Soviet army much more than they bargained for.

Users Share Best Practices: Adding a Day Two Refresher

Posted: October 21st, 2016 in Root Cause Analysis Tips, Summit, Summit Videos, Video Depot

Our 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit was a great success this year! Our attendees helped one another by sharing some of their best practices. Watch Randy Karasti describe how adding a refresher at the beginning of the second day of training has helped their organization.

(Click post title if video is not displaying.)

Friday Joke: Are You Appalled?

Posted: October 21st, 2016 in Jokes

Security Joke

Users Share Best Practices: Running a Four Day Course

Posted: October 20th, 2016 in Root Cause Analysis Tips, Summit, Summit Videos, Video Depot

Our 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit was a great success this year! Our attendees helped one another by sharing some of their best practices. Larry Perkinson shares how his company teaches a four day TapRooT® course that includes a day dedicated to exams. What a great idea!

(Click post title if video is not displaying.)

How far away is death?

Posted: October 20th, 2016 in Accidents, Video

Enhance Your Equifactor® Skills in Houston

Posted: October 20th, 2016 in Equipment/Equifactor®, Local Attractions

Equipment problems can be difficult, but fixing them is vital for safety in the workplace and efficiency in production. Where do you start? Find the root cause of the failure. But how? Come to a TapRooT® Equifactor® public course to learn how to find that root cause, develop effective solutions and implement them successfully. Our systematic process is reliable, and your equipment should be, too.

Well, good news! TapRooT® is offering this course in Houston on November 3. You can learn how to optimize your equipment and enjoy a city with a big personality. Houston lives up to the western character that many assume they’ll find, but that’s not all it is. You’ll find cuisine of all kinds, sophisticated downtown shops and industrial powerhouses of all kinds. Visit and see for yourself!

Join TapRooT® in Houston for this local public course.

Inquire about an Equifactor® onsite course for your company.

Technically Speaking – Helpdesk Humor

Posted: October 20th, 2016 in Uncategorized


Check out this great article for more details about “What’s Wrong With Cause-and-Effect, 5-Why’s, & Fault Trees”

Technically Speaking is a weekly series that highlights various aspects of the TapRooT® VI software and occasionally includes a little Help Desk humor.

Remember, just because it’s technical, doesn’t mean it has to be complicated!

What does a bad day look like?

Posted: October 18th, 2016 in Video

Users Share Best Practices: Defining Your Focus

Posted: October 18th, 2016 in Root Cause Analysis Tips, Summit, Summit Videos, Video Depot

Our 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit was a great success this year! Our attendees helped one another by sharing some of their best practices. Here Steven Sandlin discusses his best practice of defining the focus. What is the minimum threshold that drives an investigation?

(Click post title if video is not displaying.)

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Aviation Safety Reporting System CALLBACK Notice About Ramp Safety

Posted: October 17th, 2016 in Accidents, Current Events, Investigations

CALLBACK Report Ramp Safety

Here’s the start of the report …

This month CALLBACK features reports taken from a cross-section of ramp experiences. These excerpts illustrate a variety of ramp hazards that can be present. They describe the incidents that resulted and applaud the “saves” made by the Flight Crews and Ground Personnel involved.

For the complete report, see:

You Can, You Should & If You’re Brave, You Will

Posted: October 17th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Recently hiked to the top of House Mountain in Corryton, Tennessee. The climb can be rough in spots, but worth the view. Isn’t it always?

Ahhhhh the bucket list! I’ve been thinking about mine again lately. The 2007 movie inspired many of us with adventurous spirits to do more. So grateful to be living my bucket list adventure today!  Sometimes the best thing you can do for your career development is to do something different.

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. – Stephen King

If you haven’t made a bucket list, you’re missing an easy opportunity to live a more fulfilled life. A bucket list defines where you want to spend your resources before other non-essential things swallow them up. We all have a limited number of resources (and an expiration date), but few of us live like we do.


How to Create a Bucket List


  1. Choose different types of activities that enhance your primary areas of life. For optimal life balance, we all have six primary areas to attend to: physical wellness, emotional wellness, spirituality, relationships, finances and careers. You might include a few physical challenges, like hiking a mountain trail. Or plan a few adventures with your family or friends, like indoor skydiving (did that, highly recommend!). It might be fun to include a few intellectual and travel items that will enhance your career development. Maybe you’ve even thought about earning extra money by turning a hobby into a business.
  2. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many items to check off. Your list is not set in stone, it can change over time, but always prioritize your list. Start with a “top 10” list. The top items on your list will be more meaningful to you than all of the rest of the list combined. Assuming it will take years to check off all the items, your list will change. You’re changing, so it’s only reasonable to expect your list to change too.
  3. Pick one thing that you can do this weekend. It might be buying tickets to see your favorite musician in concert or signing up for guitar lessons. Give yourself a feeling of accomplishment right off the bat. Some of the best things can be simple and easy. For example, traveling by car for a day trip adventure is easier than traveling to another country. Have bucket list items that range in difficulty from simple to difficult.
  4. Set goals that support items that will be challenging to achieve on your bucket list. If you want to live in Sonoma, California when you retire, you might set some financial goals and sign up for a wine tasting class. An easy first step is just buying a calendar with photos of Sonoma and hanging it by your desk so you can see it every day and keep the dream alive. Remember to review your goals regularly and remind yourself why you’re pursuing them.

Every day you’re writing a page of the story of your life, make it a good one!

Do you have a bucket list? Inspire others by sharing what you’ve checked off!

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