May 16, 2012 | Barb Carr

How Arkema Implements and Succeeds with TapRooT®

From Ron Zanoni, manager of Occupational Safety, Arkema, Inc.

Setting the stage

As the manager of occupational safety for Arkema, Inc., a global chemical company, protecting the safety, health and welfare of our employees is paramount to everything I do.  Our Americas-based operations include 34 facilities across the United States, Canada and Mexico with approximately 2,400 employees working in three main business groups: Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals and Performance Products. I know that accidents happen, but I always try and learn from them and absolutely aim to create an environment that prevents them from occurring in the first place.  With complex and diverse production and manufacturing facilities as well as thousands of employees, safety awareness and prevention is at the core of our corporate culture.   That’s where TapRooT® fits in.

TapRooT® delivers comprehensive investigative process

I’m a checklist-type of person who likes structure and having a roadmap to assist me in investigations.  Having the right people as part of an analysis is critical, but knowing how to communicate, query and build a solid knowledge base among the right people is even more important to getting to the root cause of any incident.  TapRooT® helps us to arrive at a point to show true, unbiased facts that lead to corrective actions.  By using TapRooT® and implementing advanced company-wide safety programs, we are able to deliver a safer working environment at all of our facilities; I am very proud of that.

Using TapRooT® to find root causes

We started using TapRooT® more than 15 years ago.  We learned early on that it offered good methodology and had a solid structure for our incident investigations that ultimately helped us arrive at the root causes of incidents.  Once we started implementing TapRooT® in our discovery phases, our levels of investigations deepened and we could complete investigations and determine the root causes with reliable corrective actions.  Prior to that, the company didn’t have a standard method of analyzing incidents for root causes, and our corrective actions didn’t consistently address the root causes of the incidents when they were identified.  TapRooT® helped address our needs and enabled us to be more thorough and consistent in our high risk investigations.

TapRooT® in action

To give you an idea how this comes to life for us via TapRooT®, here’s an example: one of our employees was seriously injured at one of our production facilities. Instead of immediately penalizing the employee for not following certain procedures, using TapRooT®, we implemented a very thorough and unbiased investigation to look at the incident with a 360-degree view to see if there were other factors to consider. TapRooT® enabled us to identify equipment difficulties, management system issues, human engineering issues, supervision issues and employee procedural issues, all of which played a part in the incident.  From this information, we were able to establish and implement corrective actions that we use to this day across our company.  TapRooT® led us to more comprehensive investigation results, which ultimately made us better as a company.

What TapRooT® has meant to our business

* Better safety conditions, low OSHA recordable injury rate ratings

* Commitment to our company’s Responsible Care® program

* Company-wide corporate standards for investigations

* Unbiased, fact-based comprehensive investigations

From the information gleaned from our TapRooT® investigations — preventative measures and corrective actions — our incidents rates has declined dramatically over the years; and we proudly continue to earn top OSHA ratings for workplace safety.  In addition, we are able to more thoroughly uphold management’s and the company’s commitment to the Responsible Care® initiative.

TapRooT® delivered many different methodologies into one compact, concise problem-solving system that we could eventually implement company-wide in the United States.  The consistency and effectiveness of our investigations improved across all facilities.  Today our U.S. sites have TapRooT®-trained personnel onsite to lead investigations of major incidents and major near misses. That is our corporate standard.

Root Cause Analysis
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