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The Principles of Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

09,September, 2020

The Principles of Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

The principles of root causes analysis have long been recognised in fields such as engineering, quality control and environmental management, as well as in safety management. Techniques have been successfully borrowed from other disciplines and adapted to meet the requirements of the safety field, most notably the development of the ‘tree’ structure from Fault Tree Analysis, which was originally an engineering technique. The overall process of incident investigation within the safety field is similar across many of the methodologies reviewed. Differences arise however, in the particular emphasis of the techniques. Some focus on management and organisational oversights and omissions while others consider human performance/error problems in more depth.

In the majority of cases, root causes analysis methodologies have to be used by busy personnel working within the organisation where the incident occurred. Therefore, techniques need to be practical and easily applied. The application of the technique should also be prescriptive to minimise variations in user interpretations, and should encourage multiple causes to be identified, where appropriate.

By identifying the root causes of the incident, the remedial actions proposed are more likely to be effective in the long term. In addition, it is possible to develop a database of root causes that address human, equipment, technical and quality failures. This approach enables the identification of root cause trends and, from these, the development of effective preventative recommendations which not only prevent repeat failures but will also circumvent many related incidents
These methods are relatively easy to learn and do not necessarily require the analyst to have knowledge of the system under investigation, providing they understand the principles of the method and can consult with ‘experts

For decades, managers, executives, consultants, and academicians have been searching for an effective (if not foolproof) approach to solving problems. Kepner, Tregoe and others developed intuitive techniques so that problems and solutions could be treated and tested more efficiently. Shewhart, Ishikawa, Chambers and others pursued statistical approaches to analyzing process problems and their causes. Although both strategies have merits, the search nonetheless continues. This intensive one-day virtual workshop (split into two four-hour sessions) is designed to move beyond past and current techniques for solving problems and beyond basic root cause analysis to present an advanced, systematic process for solving problems. It does so by connecting a structured, systematic approach to root cause analysis to a statistical understanding of work processes (theory of variation)

TÜV Middle East provides Root Cause Analysis courses in the Middle East and it is available in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

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