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Strategies for effective root cause identification and analysis

Root cause identification and analysis is an essential component of the incident investigation process. Approximately 78 percent of EHS leaders use the results of these inquiries to determine departmental performance, meaning this investigatory element often makes or breaks EHS operations, according to research from EHS Today.  

With this state of affairs in mind, EHS teams should reassess their existing root cause identification and analysis frameworks and look for potential opportunities for improvement. Here are three best practices these workplace safety groups should reference when moving ahead with such efforts. 

Consider all of the angles 

The EHS teams responsible for looking into workplace safety incidents might believe all of the pertinent details lie at the scene. This is a reflection of reality to some extent. However, there are some salient investigative variables that do not reveal themselves upon initial inspection. 

For instance, EHS personnel looking into a slipping incident on the shop floor might pinpoint equipment lubrication near the site of the event and identify this substance as the root cause, when a damaged yet unseen machine component responsible for leaking the oil is the true source of the problem. 

This common misstep is the reason why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises businesses to take a more exhaustive approach and consider "what," "why" and "how" when searching for root causes.

14125306-59                Effective root cause identification and analysis practices lay the groundwork for workplace safety improvement.

Empower shop floor supervisors 

Shop floor leaders are normally among the first on the scene when workplace safety incidents unfold. Of course, most organizations realize this and equip these key staffers with emergency response skills so they can effectively tend to injured colleagues. However, this is not the only useful function these professionals can perform, EHS Today reported. 

Supervisors can move forward with the initial stages of root cause identification and analysis by leveraging both their business savvy and shop floor knowledge to gain insight into how an incident occurred and what the enterprise can do to effectively prevent such events in the future.  

Create data collection and analysis channels 

Ideally, businesses should leverage formalized data gathering and analysis channels to assess the information gained during the root cause identification process and make lasting improvements. Unfortunately, few EHS teams are equipped to do this, as only 54 percent software to collect and track workplace safety data, including insights gleaned during the incident investigation process, according to EHS Today. 

EHS departments would be wise to move away from this strategy and implement advanced online tools that render actionable insights meant to facilitate workplace safety progression. 

Here at ProcessMAP, we help businesses of all sizes develop and deploy cutting-edge workplace safety methodologies, including root cause identification and analysis workflows, via an innovative suite of EHS tools, which includes our leading incident management software. Our solutions support seamless data collection and review efforts while addressing ancillary issues such as regulatory compliance and profitability. 

5 Whys – One of the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) tools widely accepted for quick results.

This is most commonly used by EHS investigation teams; its beauty is in its simplicity. Simply asking the question “Why” enough times until you get all the symptoms and down to the root cause, helps in arriving at possible solutions too. Conducting and capturing the Why? in ProcessMAP solution is an easy, intuitive way which drives investigation team to put as many why as needed to arrive to FINAL Root Cause. And solution provides the flexibility of doing the similar analysis for each or group of contributing factors which helps for better analysis. 

Connect with us today to learn how our solutions can future-proof your EHS program.


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