Root Cause Analysis (RCA) can be an effective proactive methodology to forecast or predict probable events even before they occur. It’s use has been embraced by regulators and can be found in the most advanced management tools such as the recently published ISO 55000 series of international management standards for asset management.
An RCA identifies both the obvious and the underlying causes of an event so that specific solutions can be implemented. A complete RCA consists of a clear definition of the issue, a thorough analysis supported with evidence and a specific action plant for implementing solutions. In this respect, what may have appeared as a material failure or “human error,” can often be shown to be the result of an inadequate infrastructure management systems or the failure of management processes.
Generally thought of as a reactive method of identifying the causes of past incidents, this paper will describe the elements of an RCA and how it can be a powerful tool to identify systems or behaviors that when modified or corrected, will prevent recurrence of similar outcomes.