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CC: Root Cause Analysis, Incident Investigation and Advanced RCA


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This is a combined course of:

  • Root Cause Analysis and Incident Investigation (Course 120)

    Learn to use the license-fee-free SOURCE™ root cause analysis (RCA) methodology for investigating incidents. This methodology will help you initiate a root cause analysis incident investigation, gather data for investigating all types of incidents, collect data through interviews and parts analyses, apply powerful techniques (timelines, cause and effect trees, Root Cause Map™, and 5-whys) for causal factor and root cause identification. Avoid future incidents by developing appropriate recommendations using our four-level recommendation development guidance to address each of the causal factors and root causes, structure reports for optimum effectiveness, develop your data-trending process to identify systemic problem areas, and more. You’ll walk away with your course notebook, a copy of our Root Cause Analysis Handbook, our Excel and Visio templates, and access to our on-line resources for you and your entire organization – no licensing fees to pay.

  • Advanced Root Cause Analysis (Course 122)

    This advanced 2-day follow on course to our standard 3-day RCA course (Course 120) allows attendees to learn advanced techniques and gain additional insight from our experienced investigators. Although we cover core topics in every offering, the course content is tailored each time to address the specific needs of the participants. We solicit input from each of the participants in advance so we can address the key concerns and issues of each attendee. You will participate in additional workshops related to timelines, cause and effect trees, interviewing, physical data analysis plans, near-miss definitions and reporting, and trending. Attendees also receive an overview of how to structure an effective investigation program for their company, including how to define near misses, train others to recognize and report incidents, classify incidents for assigning the appropriate investigator(s), and trend data. You will take back to your company an example of a successful incident reporting and investigation program.

Duration: 5 days total (Course 120 Monday-Wednesday) and Course 122 (Thursday and Friday)

3.2 CEUs, 3.2 COCs

Dates & Locations

View our current schedule of virtual or on-site courses at



Topic 1
  • Basics of incidents and investigations
  • Workshop: Identifying causal factors and root causes
  • Analyzing data (causal factor charting)
  • Workshop: Causal factor charting
Topic 2
  • Analyzing data (cause and effect tree analysis)
  • Workshop: Using cause and effect tree analysis
  • Analyzing data (change analysis)
  • Determining root causes
  • Workshop: Identifying root causes using the Root Cause Map technique
  • Developing conclusions and recommendations
Topic 3
  • Completing the investigation
  • Initiating the investigation
  • Gathering people, physical, paper, and position data
  • Overview of results trending
  • Selecting problems for analysis
  • Overview of developing and implementing an incident investigation program
  • Workshop: Simulated incident investigation
  • Using the RootCause LEADER™ software (optional)
  • Certification examination (optional)
Topic 4
  • Basics of Incidents and Investigations (Course 106/123 Tab 1)
    • Three principles for achieving operations excellence
    • Root cause/management system approach to root cause analysis (RCA)
    • Goals of incident investigation/RCA
    • Terminology: causal factor, root cause, management system, safeguard
    • Workshop: Identifying causal factors and root causes
    • Correlation, causation and sequence relationships
    • Overall incident investigation management system and overview of the course
    • Summary of structured techniques
  • Analyzing Data (Course 106/123, Tab 4)
    • Overview of the three analysis techniques – cause and effect trees, causal factor charts and change analysis
    • Cause and effect tree analysis
    • Workshop: Developing simplified cause and effect trees – instructor-led example
    • Workshop: Developing simplified cause and effect trees – student groups #1
    • Workshop: Developing simplified cause and effect trees – student groups #2
    • Incident timelines
      • Relationship to causal factor charts
    • Workshop: Developing timelines
Topic 5
  • Analyzing Data (Course 106/123, Tab 4, cont.)
    • Causal factor charting
    • Workshop: Developing causal factor charts – instructor-led example
    • Workshop: Developing causal factor charts – student groups (complete instructor-led example)
    • Workshop: Developing causal factor charts – student groups
Topic 6
  • Change analysis
  • Workshop: Change analysis
  • Supplementary data analysis techniques
  • Identifying Root Causes (Course 106/123, Tab 5)
    • What is a root cause?
    • Common root cause analysis traps
    • Procedure for identifying root causes
    • Techniques for root cause identification
    • The Root Cause Map
    • Workshop: Identifying root causes
  • Developing Recommendations (Course 106/123, Tab 6)
    • Key recommendation concepts
    • Four levels of recommendations
    • Recommendation hierarchy
    • Special recommendation areas including restart/resumption criteria
    • Workshop: Developing Recommendations
  • Completing the Investigation (Course 106/123, Tab 7)
    • Writing investigation reports
    • Resolving recommendations
    • Evaluating the investigation process
  • Initiating Investigations (Course 106/123, Tab 2)
    • Securing the site
    • Beginning the investigation
    • Incident classification
    • Incident management tasks
    • Investigation teams
    • Gathering resources
    • Workshop: Forming your team and identifying initial investigation issues
Topic 7
  • Gathering Data (Course 106/123, Tab 3)
    • Types of data: The four P's: people, physical, paper and position
    • Fragility of data
    • Data from people
      • Interviewing techniques
    • Workshop: Identifying types of interview questions
    • Workshop: Developing interview questions
    • Workshop: Performing Interviews – small groups
    • Physical data
      • Planning for analysis of physical data
      • Use of physical data analysis plans
    • Workshop: Developing a Physical Data Analysis Plan
    • Paper data
      • Sources of potential data
    • Position data
      • Tools for collecting position data
    • Workshop: Identifying data needs
  • Selecting Problems for Analysis (Course 106/123, Tab 8)
    • Acute versus chronic investigations
    • Near-miss and accident investigations
    • Workshop: Near-miss quiz
    • Classifying incidents
  • Results Trending and Assessment (Course 106/123, Tab 9)
    • Deciding What Data to Collect
    • Data Analysis
  • General Resources (Course 106, Tabs 11)
    • SOURCE™ Toolkit – useful data collection forms
    • Pocket guide to investigation
    • Course study guide
    • Workshop: Simulated incident investigation – start
Topic 8
  • Workshop: Simulated incident investigation finish
  • Additional time spent on using both data analysis techniques, performing group interviews and completing the investigation
  • Investigation Programs (Course 106/123, Tab 10)
    • 5-step program implementation
    • Key program considerations
    • Common incident investigation/RCA program problems
    • 10 laws of incident investigation


Mr. Lee Vanden Heuvel - Manager of Incident Investigation/Root Cause Analysis Services and Senior Risk/Reliability Engineer, ABS Consulting

Ms. Julie Ott - General Manager, ABS Consulting

Mr. James Rooney - Director of Training Services - Safety, Risk & Compliance, ABS Consulting

Mr. Don Lorenzo - Senior Technical Director of Onsite Training, ABS Consulting

Gay-Ellen Stulp - Instructor, ABS Consulting

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