October 7, 2020 | Marcus Miller

COVID-19 Headaches That TapRooT® Will Help You Cure

TapRooT® is built on a plethora of human performance expertise and experience.  The expertise comes from 30 years of research and continuous improvement.  How do you leverage TapRooT® to help you reduce the risks that come from COVID-19?  Let’s take a look.

Can you remove the hazard or the target?

The first thing TapRooT® teaches you about creating correct actions is that you should first look at removing the hazard.  In this example, the hazard is COVID.  Now that’s a tall task and not realistic, not for the time being.  We can’t remove COVID from society, at least until there is a vaccine available. So, the next thing TapRooT® teaches is to find a way to remove the target, our people.   Now, most companies did institute working from home and invested in the tools that allow employees to be productive from home.  But what about our front line workers?  The people who risk all to make sure our lights stay on, keep our grocery stores stocked, keep our restaurants and stores open, educate our kids, or care for our loved ones?  What keeps them from harm’s way?

  • We give them PPE to wear like masks and gloves.
  • We tell them to be careful and social distance.
  • We take temperatures before they come into work.
  • We tell them to stay home when they feel bad.

These are good safeguards until the PPE isn’t available, inconvenient to use, are defective, or the workers decide to disregard the safeguards and accept the risk so they can get the job done.  It doesn’t help that asymptomatic people don’t feel sick so they don’t realize the shortcuts they take to get the job done will have a major health impact on their co-workers and a terrible financial impact on their company.

Why do people break rules that protect them?

I’m not sure I have ever seen a major incident that didn’t involve a well-meaning worker make a decision to go against policy and procedures to get the job done.  The worker may be in a situation where they have to decide quickly that getting the job done is worth the risk of breaking the rules.  And most of us do care about the jobs we do and will accept the risk.  Most of the time, the odds are with us and nothing bad happens.  When we get away with it, we think the risk isn’t that great going forward which reinforces the decision. If our organization doesn’t correct us because they couldn’t detect that we broke the rules or they also cared more about the job getting done at that moment in time, we will likely break the rules again.  But one day, when we take that risk again, everything will line up exactly wrong and we cause a major incident like spreading COVID to our co-workers or loved ones.  We all know how expensive and chaotic things get when you lose your stable workforce because of COVID infections and contact tracing.

How TapRooT® can help.

TapRooT® will help you overcome these challenges.  TapRooT® guides investigators by leveraging the human factors expertise embedded in the RCA framework.  Instead of stopping the RCA when you find the mistake that led to an incident, TapRooT® will guide the investigator to the underlying and fixable root causes that allowed that mistake to happen.  Going deeper to find the root causes of the mistakes opens up incredible opportunities to improve your systems.  You truly have a continuous improvement process that will have a much larger impact on your business than disciplining and re-training employees or re-writing policies and procedures to make the job “idiot-proof”.  No one wants to be infected or infect others with COVID.

You may find root causes of why workers decide to bypass safeguards so they can get the job done other than they “made a bad decision” and “they should have known better”.  Maybe the worker thought it was more important to get the job done than follow a policy.  Maybe the risks they took to get the job done were either overlooked or not detected by their boss so the worker thought it was acceptable.  Maybe the worker didn’t understand the importance of the safeguards.  Maybe the worker was confused about the actual policy or procedure because of the way it was written or enforced. These are all fixable issues if you have an RCA tool that will help you identify and fix them.

TapRooT® will help you prevent costly incidents, like COVID-19 infections, by leveraging human performance expertise when analyzing the mistakes made that allowed the infections to happen and when creating corrective actions.  Root causes are only the absence of best practices or missing knowledge not currently in your systems.  Our Corrective Action Helper® contains multiple ideas on how to introduce best practices and knowledge into your systems that will help you drive desired behaviors to reduce risk and help you prevent incidents like COVID-19 infections.

If you would like a demo of TapRooT® to help you understand the methodology and tools, contact me at marcus.miller@taproot.com.  I’m happy to make myself available at your convenience for an Executive Briefing via a web meeting to discuss TapRooT® and how we may be able to help you achieve your financial, safety, and quality goals with a standardized RCA process. Here is some information to look over to help you decide if an Executive Briefing would be worth an hour of your time https://rusbank.net.

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