Root Cause Analysis Blog


Weekly Wisdom: The mind is everything

Posted: October 6th, 2015 in Wisdom Quote

WW become“The mind is everything. What you think, you become. -Buddha


How far away is death?

Posted: October 6th, 2015 in Video

Reminds me of the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.


Want to see more of these? “How Far Away is Death” is a column in our weekly eNewsletter (distributed every Tuesday) that is often a startling reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye.  If you’d like to subscribe, contact Barb at

Public TapRooT® Course in Bogota

Posted: October 5th, 2015 in Courses, Pictures

Last week, industry professionals came together to learn TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis techniques.


For a list of our Public Courses across the globe, click here.

Onsite TapRooT® Course with Cotemar

Posted: October 5th, 2015 in Courses, Pictures

A group from Cotemar learning root cause analysis techniques through TapRooT® at an Onsite Course recently.



For more information on our Onsite Courses, click here.


Friday Joke: Ultimate Root Cause

Posted: October 2nd, 2015 in Jokes


Mark Twain said:

Man – A creature made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.

Will you be at the NISO Conference tomorrow?

Posted: October 1st, 2015 in Current Events

Screen Shot 2015 10 01 at 9 55 45 AM

Mark Paradies, President of System Improvements, is am invited speaker at the National Irish Safety Organization Annual Conference being held in Galway, Ireland, tomorrow. His talk is about achieving safety excellence using lessons learned from Admiral Rickover. He hopes to see you there!

What does a bad day look like?

Posted: October 1st, 2015 in Video

Well, it is almost a bad day.

Remember, winter isn’t all that far away!

Want to see more of these? “What Does a Bad Day Look Like” is a column in our weekly eNewsletter (distributed every Tuesday) that often makes our subscribers feel they are having a pretty good day!  If you’d like to subscribe, contact Barb at

What is the Difference Between a Safety Related Incident and a Quality Problem when using TapRooT®?

Posted: September 30th, 2015 in Quality, Root Cause Analysis Tips

Quality ControlWelcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips column.

This week I would like to ask the question…what is the difference between a safety incident and a quality problem?

Before you answer that, let me tell you that this is a trick question.

The answer is……drum roll please: there is NO DIFFERENCE. The difference in a safety problem vs. a quality problem is the consequence; there is no difference in the approach you take in investigating.

In TapRooT®, the first thing we always do is to create a SnapCharT®. And the first thing we do when creating a SnapCharT® is to define the incident with a circle. This defines the scope of your investigation. Your circle could contain anything that creates pain for your company and that you would like to prevent from happening again. Examples of things that might go in your circle:

• Fatality
• Lost time injury
• Recordable injury
• Vehicle accident
• Facility damage
• etc. etc.

• Defective product (not sent to customer)
• Defective product (sent to customer)
• Customer complaint
• Delayed shipment
• Returns
• etc. etc.

Once you have defined the incident, you map out what happened, define the causal factors, perform root cause analysis, and develop corrective actions.

So start thinking about different ways your company can use TapRooT®. I’ve mentioned Safety and Quality, but there are many more. equipment reliability, environment, security, project delays; the list is really endless.

The more ways you can use TapRooT®, the better ROI you will get from your training. I know from experience when different disciplines in an organization start speaking the same language, there are some great intangible benefits as well. So if you are a safety manager, drag your quality manager with you to training next time. You will be glad you did.

Thanks for visiting the blog and best wishes for your improvement efforts.

Would you like to receive tips like these in your inbox? Our eNewsletter is delivered every Tuesday and includes root cause tips, career development tips, current events and even a joke. Contact Barb at to sign up for the TapRooT® Friends & Experts eNewsletter.  

All Root Cause Analyses Are NOT Created Equal

Posted: September 30th, 2015 in Investigations, Performance Improvement

I saw an article about a hospital error that injured a patient. The article said they were going to perform a root cause analysis. It’s strange how a simple line in an article can get me WORKED UP.

Why am I WORKED UP? I know that many root cause analyses are BAD.  What defines bad root cause analysis?

  • The look to place blame.
  • They look to cover up mistakes.
  • They look for easy answers.
  • They jump to conclusions.
  • They pick their favorite root causes.
  • They don’t improve performance.

That’s a BAD list. But I see it all the time.

In fact, that’s why I started to work inventing TapRooT®. I wanted to solve those problems. And for many TapRooT® Users, we have.

But there still is a long way to go.

There are still people who think that 5-Whys is a good system (some would even say an advanced system) for finding root causes.

Some don’t recognize the drawback of using cause and effect to analyze problems. That there is a tendency to find the answer that you want to find (rather than looking at the evidence objectively).

Some think that just filling out a form is good enough. Somehow this will prevent mistakes and save lives.

WELL I HAVE NEWS FOR THEM … It hasn’t worked for years and it won’t start working tomorrow!

The definition of insanity is to keep doing things the same way and to expect a different result.

Don’t be insane!

It is time to try TapRooT® and see how it can help guide you to the real, fixable causes of problems.

We guarantee our courses.

Here is the guarantee:

Attend the course, go back to work, and use what you have learned to analyze accidents, incidents, near-misses, equipment failures, operating issues, or quality problems. If you don’t find root causes that you previously would have overlooked and if you and your management don’t agree that the corrective actions that you recommend are much more effective, just return your course materials/software and we will refund the entire course fee.

If you are investigating serious problems, then attend a 5-Day TapRooT®  Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course. Here’s more information about the course:

Here are our upcoming public courses being held around the world:

5 Steps to Setting Clear Goals You Can Achieve

Posted: September 30th, 2015 in Career Development, Career Development Tips


Don’t wait for “someday” to pursue your goals!

How are those goals coming along that you set in January of this year?

I like goals. Without them, I feel we lack passion, purpose, or drive; however, when goals are too vague, it’s much more difficult than if we’d properly prepared in the first place.

Planning Goals

The planning phase is the most important stage when it comes to achieving your goals. Planning might come easy or hard for you, but one thing’s for sure, without planning you won’t get there.

While it’s important to set up your own system that works for you, there are some simple goal setting strategies you can use to make your planning easier.

Consider the following tips for finding clarity in your goals:

1. Decide what you really want. Seems intuitive but many people skip this step and instead pursue goals that sound good, not goals that line up with what he or she really wants to achieve in life. Whether your goal is lofty or little, decide exactly what it is that you want. If you want money, how much? If you want to lose weight, how many pounds? If you want success, how do you describe your vision of success? Don’t be afraid to take your time to figure out what you want. At some point you’ll need to eventually sift through your thoughts and take action, but make sure you’re acting on what’s most important to you and not someone else.

2. Be specific. Be very detailed as you develop every part of your goal. Instead of a goal like “I want to be promoted to the next level at work,” consider a goal like “I want to perform exceptionally well now so I can be promoted to the next level and I will do this by [add specific action steps here].” Just being “better” at work is too vague. There are too many options and avenues to take that your mind can’t focus on any one route to your goal.

3. Write it down. Write down your ideas and decisions. It doesn’t matter if you use pencil and paper, a computer, or even a cell phone. What’s important is the fact that you can keep track of a large amount of specific information instead of trying to remember everything. After all, goals only seem real when you see them clearly before you.

4. Break down your goal into increments. If you have a lofty goal, it’ll become manageable if you break it down into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces will make your goal seem less complex. Plus, it’ll be easier for you to achieve your goal if everything is set out for you as mini-goals, instead of just one huge feat.

5. Repeat the process. Once you’ve found a good system, it’s time to repeat the process. Clarify your other goals that you’d like to achieve. For example, if you’d like to “spend more time with the family,” which is too vague, make a list of specific family activities you’d like to do together, and then make more lists that detail how you can make those goals a reality.

Don’t Wait For “Someday”

Some of the reasons why people tend to keep their goals vague is that they’re actually afraid of achieving them. It’s true!

After all, it’s a whole lot easier to put off your goals and do nothing, than to take action to achieve it. But what good is a goal that merely resides on paper?

Once you’ve decided on a clear goal, it’s time to take swift action to make it a reality. Don’t wait for someday to achieve your goals. There’s no time like the present… so get moving and end this year on a hight note!

How far away is death?

Posted: September 29th, 2015 in Video

Want to see more of these? “How Far Away is Death” is a column in our weekly eNewsletter (distributed every Tuesday) that is often a startling reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye.  If you’d like to subscribe, contact Barb at

Weekly Wisdom: What are you worth?

Posted: September 29th, 2015 in Wisdom Quote


“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” -Albert Einstein

Public TapRooT® Course in Aberdeen, Scotland

Posted: September 28th, 2015 in Courses, Pictures

A great group in the 5-Day Advanced Root Cause Analysis and Team Leader Training Course in Aberdeen, Scotland recently.






For more information on our courses, visit our website.

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: MSHA Hand Safety Video

Posted: September 28th, 2015 in Accidents, Video

Here’s the regulator’s viewpoint … (once again, gross injuries in this video)

What do you think? These hazards look like a great candidate for proactive Safeguards Analysis as part of a pre-job safety analysis.

Connect with Us

Filter News

Search News


Barb PhillipsBarb Phillips

Editorial Director

Chris ValleeChris Vallee

Six Sigma

Dan VerlindeDan Verlinde

Software Development

Dave JanneyDave Janney

Safety & Quality

Ed SkompskiEd Skompski


Gabby MillerGabby Miller

Communications Specialist

Ken ReedKen Reed


Linda UngerLinda Unger

Vice President

Mark ParadiesMark Paradies

Creator of TapRooT®

Steve RaycraftSteve Raycraft

Technical Support

Success Stories

Reporting of ergonomic illnesses increased by up to 40% in…

Ciba Vision, a Novartis Company

Many of us investigate accidents that the cause seems intuitively obvious: the person involved…

ARCO (now ConocoPhillips)
Contact Us