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By systematically peeling away layers of causes and effects, root cause analysis (RCA) identifies breakdowns in processes and systems that contributed to the event.

Root Cause Analysis gets to the bottom of an issue so that action can be taken to fix it permanently. RCA works to solve the issue at the root itself in an efficient, cost-effective way, which can have far-reaching benefits for the organization.

RCA can uncover previously hidden relationships between causes and symptoms and provide enduring solutions that will result in increased safety and lower costs. And by successfully getting to the root cause of one problem, businesses and organizations can solve several others along the way – which can have a significant impact on Total Cost of Risk (TCOR).

Successful RCA methodology requires accomplishing certain steps efficiently. Generally the process begins with collecting the right information. Your analysis will only be as good as the data you collect, so compiling comprehensive, accurate, and consistent information about your incidents is essential.

RCA software can provide intuitive form design and simple entry screens to ensure you are capturing the right information at first instance.

It’s also important to create a fear-free incident reporting environment. You can’t investigate something that was never reported. To be effective, all incidents must be reported. To that end, some businesses open up incident reporting to anyone in the organization and create fear-free reporting environments by allowing reports to be made anonymously.

Organizations must also learn to look beyond incident reports. It is critical to dig deeper than just what the form states. Take a step back to understand the full chain of events and relationships that led to the incident. Get the right team in the room to discuss the event and ask all those personally involved in the event, those familiar with processes and systems, and a trained RCA facilitator to lead the discussion.

It’s also been well documented that organizations most successful with RCA focus attention where it can have the greatest impact since very few companies have the time or resources to drill down into every incident or claim. In fact, about 80% of issues are caused by 20% of problems – known as the Pareto Principle.

Develop action plans around key issues that clearly state what corrective measures need to be taken for each root cause, when they need to be done, and who is responsible.

Want to learn more about root cause analysis? Tonex offers Root Cause Analysis Training, a 3-day course that covers a general description of the root cause analysis, methods and tools, its purpose and typical industry domain and applications, the procedures, examples of its use, a checklist to help attendees make sure it is applied properly, and root cause analysis roadmaps, forms and templates.

Additionally, Tonex offers nearly three dozen other courses in Root Cause Analysis Training. For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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