February 1, 2023 | Mark Paradies

Essential Root Cause Analysis Tools

What are the Essential Root Cause Analysis Tools?

Essential root cause analysis tools are the tools that you should use in every investigation that is worth investigating.

What makes them essential? The outcome you desire.

If you don’t care about the results, any root cause analysis tool will do. Why not try Spin-a-Cause™?

Get yours by clicking on the picture above.

Or you could try this tool suggested by a Vice President at a utility…

Why do I suggest these joke systems? Because the results you get are similar to other inadequate tools, and the joke tools are much faster. If you read this blog often, you know my opinion about inadequate root cause analysis tools. I call them root cause analysis malpractice.

Why should you care about the root cause analysis tools that you use? Why are some tools essential? Why isn’t any old tool OK? For example, why not pick the easiest tool?

Because lives depend on the tools you use (if you use them for safety incidents).

The quality of the product you produce depends on the tools (if you use them in investigations of quality issues).

Because your equipment reliability depends on the tools (if you use them for finding the root causes of equipment failures).

You get the idea…

The TapRooT® Essential Root Cause Analysis Tools

We actually wrote a book (Using the Essential TapRooT® Techniques to Investigate Low-to-Medium Risk Incidents) about the essential root cause analysis tools that you should use. Below is a picture of the set that includes the book below…

Click on the picture to order your set.

Simple Investigation Process

Here is the investigation flow chart (investigation steps) from the book…


The steps include the essential root cause tools:

  • SnapCharT®
  • Safeguards Analysis
  • Root Cause Tree®
  • Corrective Action Helper® Module

If you are a TapRooT® User, you already know why these are the essential root cause analysis tools. If you aren’t a TapRooT® User, you should attend a TapRooT® Course to find out why these are the essential root cause analysis tools.

Here is a short description of two of the essential tools…


The first essential TapRooT® root cause analysis tool is the SnapCharT® Diagram (an example is shown below). It helps you explain what happened (and you have to understand what happened BEFORE you can understand WHY something happened).

This example is a famous example from Taiichi Ono, the creator of 5-Whys. To see a comparison of the 5-Why example to TapRooT®, click THIS LINK.

Why use a SnapCharT® to show what happened? Because a picture (or at least a diagram) is worth 1000 words.

Root Cause Tree® Diagram

We won’t try to explain the whole Root Cause Tree® Diagram and how it is used here, but we will explain WHY it is essential.

First, investigators need help finding the root causes of human-error-related Causal Factors. The Root Cause Tree® Diagram has a built-in expert system that provides that help. It provides questions (in the Root Cause Tree® Dictionary) to help investigators ask questions that a human factors expert might ask.

Second, the Root Cause Tree® Diagram gets investigators to expand the types of causes they look for (not just their favorite causes).

Third, the Root Cause Tree® Diagram provides a systematic review of root causes to make sure the investigator doesn’t skip over areas of inquiry. (Yes – that is similar to 2 above but slightly different.)

Finally, the Root Cause Tree® Diagram provides a common vocabulary that helps people discuss root causes and trend them.

Learn More About TapRooT® Essential Root Cause Analysis Tools

Where can you learn more about the essential TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Techniques? At the 2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training. When and where are these courses held? See THIS LINK.

Or you can learn the essential TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Techniques and the optional techniques for major investigations at the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training. See THIS LINK for upcoming courses.

Root Cause Analysis, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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One Reply to “Essential Root Cause Analysis Tools”

  • Okani charles says:

    Taproot is really changing the way we think when accident happened at work places . The big boss no longer bring out predetermined investigation report from his pocket and drop the blame on any body he does not like his face

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