Every day, problems are part of the workplace’s dynamics. Solving minor issues is indeed uncomplicated, but how about the major incidents impacting an organization’s safety, quality, and productivity? Unraveling the cause and applying accurate techniques for assessing the issue takes more than time.

To address these problems and prevent them from continuing, any delegated organizational teams must learn and use root cause analysis techniques. This method can lead to a more productive, efficient, and safer workplace.

So, what is root cause analysis? How can an individual implement the understanding and have the practical experience to perform RCA analysis better? This article will cover everything you need to start your journey to gain the skill of RCA that is applicable to your workplace.

What Is Root Cause Analysis?

Root cause analysis is a problem-solving method to uncover the fundamental reasons or sources of a problem or issue. Rather than merely addressing the symptoms, RCA involves a systematic approach to investigating and analyzing the root cause of a problem.

By doing so, RCA aims to prevent the problem from recurring. The RCA process typically involves collecting information, examining data, identifying potential causes, and implementing corrective measures.

Specific sectors, such as petroleum, petrochemical, engineering, electricity, and manufacturing, utilize RCA as a crucial tool to identify potential risks and prevent incidents from happening. These sectors have a high risk of accidents and failures since they deal with complex systems and mechanics on a daily basis.

The importance of approaching problems through technical complexity, environmental factors, and human faults makes RCA challenging but efficient. Identifying and resolving the root cause of problems can also enhance the quality and efficiency of their industrial activities.

What Is The Objective of Root Cause Analysis?

Aside from preventing problems and mishaps from reoccurring, RCA can benefit organizations with an in-depth understanding of how to address, mitigate, and finally get a learning process from the issues. Systematically blocking future accidents and drawbacks while reaping success is possible to achieve if the organizations carry out the correct way of RCA.

For instance, an explosion occurred at an oil refinery resulting in multiple fatalities, injuries, and damage to the equipment and surrounding areas. A root cause analysis can be a robust process to analyze the incident, such as interviewing witnesses, examining the incident details, reviewing the maintenance documents, and conducting a detailed assessment of the equipment involved.

The design failure triggering the explosion becomes the root cause. The RCA personnel could finally summarize and give recommendations to prevent the incidents from happening again.

What Are The 5 Steps of Root Cause Analysis?

a man is inspecting using root cause analysis approach
Root cause analysis (RCA) needs to be performed correctly (Credit: Freepik)

If the root cause analysis process is disorganized or unmethodical, the outcome may not be complete or precise. This may occur when the steps involved in the analysis are not in the correct sequence. Losing critical information can also happen due to disarranged RCA performance. To avoid low-quality results of RCA, pay attention to the five steps involved in root cause analysis below:

1. Identify and Define The Issue

This initial step entails defining the issue or problem that requires attention and outlining the issue’s extent and impact.

2. Gather Relevant Information

The next step is to gather all relevant data and information concerning the problem or issue, including past records, symptoms, and observations.

3. Identify Possible Causes

Employ techniques such as brainstorming or cause and effect diagrams to identify possible root causes of the issue based on the information gathered.

4. Analyze Collected Data

Analyze the gathered data using statistical analysis or process mapping tools to establish the most likely root cause(s) of the problem or issue.

5. Implement Solutions

After identifying the root cause(s), develop and execute appropriate solutions to address the problem or issue. Continuously monitor and adjust the implemented solutions to guarantee long-term success.

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What Are The 5P Approach of Root Cause Analysis?

However, these five steps should always pay attention to the 5P approaches. The 5P in RCA includes parts, positions, paper, people, and paradigms are explained down below:

1. Parts of the mechanics

The first approach involved in the incidents must be preserved.

2. Positions

In the next approach, positions are recorded in photos to have accurate access to incident conditions.

3. Paper

The third approach named paper symbolizes the latest inspection report and the company’s regulations regarding the matter.

4. People

People refer to those who are involved in the incidents (including the engineer, technician, and the last inspector assessing the safety).

5. Paradigms

Paradigms or perception of the issue.

Performing the RCA approach in the correct steps with the 5P fundamentals above can lead to accurate results in examining the root cause.

How Do I Learn Root Cause Analysis?

Nowadays, almost every field of work needs an RCA approach. You can independently learn root cause analysis by following the guidelines and how-to discussed before. RCA is a critical skill to master, with many online resources available to self-learn.

However, biases and blind spots are hard to combat, as doing self-learning results in justifying subjective assumptions frequently. Taking RCA training, especially for those working in high-risk sectors, is the right first step in mastering this skill.

Root Cause Analysis Training Course by PetroSync offers a comprehensive and structured approach, relevant study cases, group discussion, and recognized certification for you to build your credibility in RCA. We can help you better understand how to apply root cause analysis to real-world problems. Reserve your RCA training spot and develop your problem-solving skills with PetroSync.

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