March 18, 2014 | Mark Paradies

Root Cause Analysis Tip: Performance Tells You If Your Root Cause Analysis is Adequate

At a meeting people were benchmarking their root cause analysis efforts. Several declared their root cause analysis systems adequate because they “thought” the reports found root causes. 

That got me thinking? “How did they know?”

They hadn’t performed a separate investigation. They only reviewed what was presented. And most of the time the people were reviewing the results of a 5-Why investigation (notoriously inconsistent).

So I asked myself how I would judge the adequacy of a root cause analysis. My answer seemed simple: RESULTS! If a company’s root cause analysis efforts are adequate, they won’t have repeat fatalities. They won’t have repeat near-misses of fatalities or serious injuries. They won’t have repeat quality issues. They won’t have to perform corrective maintenance for the same serious mechanical failure. If they are a hospital, they won’t have repeat sentinel events or near-misses of sentinel events.

If they have adequate root cause analysis, problems will be solved once and for all. If they have repeat problems, there is something wrong with their root cause analysis and/or corrective actions.

And since most incidents are repeat incidents at most facilities, the investigation is not only missing the root cause of the incident, but also, the root cause of why previous incidents failed to solve the problem.

But here’s the real answer … We all probably need to improve our root cause analysis and corrective action systems!

Even if we get good (adequate) results, we may be able to get BETTER RESULTS MORE EFFICIENTLY.

Where can you get ideas to improve your root cause analysis system and your corrective action program? At the 2014 Global TapRooT® Summit coming up on April 7-11. Don’t miss this chance to make your root cause analysis system produce results that are even better than adequate. See:

http://www.taproot.com/taproot-summit

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