September 7, 2022 | Mark Paradies

I Need Help With a Root Cause Analysis! What Can I Do?

When Do You Need Root Cause Analysis Help?

I got a call from a TapRooT® User. They needed help with an investigation. Why? It could have been any one of these reasons…

  • Legal/Regulatory Issue
  • Customer Dispute
  • Union Issue
  • Just Learning
  • Overwhelmed

You might ask …

Don’t the TapRooT® Folks teach you what you need
to perform a thorough root cause analysis?

Yes, they do! But there still may be occasions when an outside expert can be of assistance. Read on to find out when you might need the help of one of our expert facilitators.

Legal/Regulatory Issue

If this incident is going to end up in court or become a regulatory issue, you need the help of your company’s legal team. They may want to do a privileged investigation. Also, they may need the help of an experienced facilitator.

Three major reasons they may need the help of an experienced facilitator:

1. They would like to be assured of a complete root cause analysis so that they aren’t surprised by an “incomplete” investigation in court or when dealing with the regulator. When a company has an air-tight root cause analysis with all the Causal Factors identified and effective corrective actions for all the root causes, regulators and the court are more likely to look favorably on the company’s actions and have less harsh penalties.

2. Investigations that will end up in court or cause regulatory actions are usually major investigations. For these investigations, it is good to have an independent set of eyes to ensure all the problems are identified and fixed. A good facilitator can help by asking questions that people familiar with the plant might not ask…

“Why do you do it that way?”

And bring up practices from other facilities or industries that might help your company improve performance.

3. If the outside facilitator isn’t involved in the investigation, the legal team might want an independent review of the investigation under attorney/client privilege. Again, this would help assure the legal team that every fact was uncovered and the investigation wasn’t built on assumptions.

Customer Dispute

It’s always tough when a customer has a problem and blames your product/service. I remember a company that was facing a large EPA fine. They blamed it on one of their suppliers. We facilitated the investigation, and by the time we had the SnapCharT® completed, they recognized that their operating practices had caused the incident. It was not the supplier’s fault. The supplier (a TapRooT® User) was very grateful. And the company that was facing the fine … became a TapRooT® User.

Thus, a facilitated root cause analysis can be a big help with customer disputes. The customer is more likely to believe the results of a facilitated investigation. And TapRooT®’s focus on what happened rather than placing blame always helps everyone leave with a sense of accomplishment.

Union Issue

Ever had a contentious investigation that involved a union? Why would it be contentious? Because:

  • Discipline has been suggested as a corrective action.
  • The union thinks that all the HSE issues have NOT been corrected.

Here are some articles about union impacts on health and safety issues:

Since health and safety should concern unions and management, this is a great place for cooperation. I’ve seen several occasions when the union insisted on a TapRooT® RCA. This is a great opportunity to get an independent TapRooT® Facilitator involved to promote cooperation.

Therefore, if you find yourself with a potentially contentious investigation, this may be time to ask for help. An outside facilitator can provide an independent perspective. They can help both sides see how to achieve the most effective improvements.

Just Learning

I always hope that new investigators get a chance to practice using TapRooT® RCA on some smaller incidents before they have to tackle a major investigation. I always recommend an experienced investigator for major investigations.

But what happens if you just started using TapRooT® RCA and all your investigators are inexperienced? You need HELP!

Have us provide investigation facilitation. Our coach can help you with that first difficult investigation, which can become a win-win. The company investigator will learn more about investigating a major incident, and the investigator will provide a much better investigation using TapRooT® RCA.


Do you have too many incidents to investigate? You just can’t keep up. Your backlog seems overwhelming. Then you might need help.

First, we can help you review your investigation policies and see if you are investigating incidents that really don’t need investigating. We can also suggest ways to make your investigations more efficient (faster).

But if that doesn’t reduce your backlog, maybe you need staff augmentation. Could outside facilitators help investigate incidents? Could outside experts provide valuable feedback for your investigators to make their investigations more efficient? Expert help can get your investigations back on track.

Investigation Facilitation: We Can Help!

System Improvements has 40+ experienced investigators around the world. We can provide an experienced facilitator when you need it. They will be an independent set of eyes and help your team produce a first-class investigation.

Need investigation facilitation? Call us at 865-539-2139. Or CLICK HERE to request assistance.

We will establish a facilitation agreement and help you achieve excellent results.

And watch this video for a few more ideas about when you may need investigation facilitation assistance…

Investigations, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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