April 8, 2010 | Barb Carr

Root Cause Analysis Tip: “Root Causes are Only for Incident Investigations!”

The title of this Article could not be any further from the truth, but I hear it all the time in online root cause forums.


…… Yes, it is too late to prevent an incident that has already occurred.

….. Yes, after an incident we want to find the root causes that allowed a human or equipment behavior to occur or get worse.

….. Yes, we build corrective actions based on the incident analysis to prevent another incident from repeating….. What?

So you mean applying best practices (the opposite of the root causes found) will prevent future incidents and forces you to look forward to make sure they worked?

So where else can I apply root causes (absence of best practices)?

….. Designing processes and products. (Why create future root causes for someone else to figure out by accident?)

….. Setting up and assessing your training and hiring program. (So is it a Worker Selection, Supervision, and/or maybe a Training Root Cause?)

….. Revamping your audit or assessment program. (Where are the human factors questions in your audit?)

This important concept is actually why we teach proactive root cause analysis to our clients.., to learn more; e-mail: info@taproot.com and tell them Chris has a root cause to pick with you.

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