March 16, 2008 | Barb Carr

I thought I left the land of Toto and Twisters

Sadly two people lost their lives this Friday from a tornado in Atlanta. This unexpected weather is of concern to me for two reasons. My brother and his family live in Atlanta. Also, I was sitting in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport waiting to board my aircraft when the tornado passed through. Returning from a very energetic 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training, I thought about the fact that we include natural disasters and sabotage in our root cause process.

Yes, you can’t prevent an external event such as a tornado, but this should not be the focus of the fatalities. What human engineering and training was developed to improve the odds of survival? Do you think the thought “we never or very rarely have tornados here, so we did not plan for this” occurred? Not that this may be the case here, but I have heard this statement too many times concerning hazard assessments. If this sounds familiar to you in your company, are you performing robust proactive audits? If you jump from identifying issues and go straight to corrective actions, you are not doing justice to your time spent. These typical type of audits are often led by prioritizing on a single problem and deciding on the best feel good or discipline action. If you want to stop this poor practice, call System Improvements, Inc. at 865.539.2139.

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