January 4, 2023 | Mark Paradies

Are You Prepared to Investigate a Major Accident or Fatality?

What is Your Experience Investigating Major Accidents?

Is your site like most sites? You don’t have major accidents. You occasionally have a lost time injury … but fatalities? … You’ve never seen one.

Even though major accidents are rare, you still need to be prepared.

There are many sources of information to help you prepare for serious accidents. The US Department of Health and Human Services has a website with a planning document and response tools for a chemical hazard emergency:


Another source of information to help you prepare for the worst (a fatality) is the TapRooT® series of books:

TapRooT® Books

It provides guidance for investigation procedures, initial response, & evidence collection – all things you need to know.

Some companies have a corporate team to respond to major accidents. The team may include trained accident investigators, lawyers, and PR professionals. They respond quickly to help local management and safety personnel deal with the aftermath of a serious accident and coordinate with government agencies (OSHA, CSB, EPA, MSHA, DOT, NRC, or many others) that descend on the accident site.

Companies may also have pre-negotiated assistance contracts for technical services and investigation facilitation.

Perhaps the best way to prepare is to do everything possible to prevent a major accident from occurring in the first place.

Ben Franklin

As Benjamin Franklin said:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

And this is doubly true when it comes to accident prevention.

But how do you prevent major accidents? The following sections share three places to learn techniques to prevent major accidents.

Learn About Advanced Root Cause Analysis and Apply it to Stop Repeat Incidents

I have never seen a major accident that wasn’t preceded by PRECURSOR INCIDENTS. What is a precursor incident? Read more at this link…

What is a Precursor Incident?

If you learn from the precursors, you can stop major accidents.

The best way to learn is to apply advanced root cause analysis to find and fix the real root causes of the precursor incidents. The fixes will help you prevent major accidents.

Where can you learn about advanced root cause analysis? My recommendation is the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training. See the current schedule of courses being held around the world at this link:

5-Day Courses Being Held Around the World

Learn How to Stop Human Errors

Most fatalities and major accidents have at least one human error as part of the sequence of events leading up to the accident. What if you could stop that human error? That is what the 2-Day Stopping Human Error Course is all about.

Alex Paradies

You will leave this course with a clear understanding of methods to improve human performance and a custom plan to apply those methods at your company to achieve great gains in safety, quality, or operational and maintenance performance (all of which depend on human performance).

See the upcoming course dates HERE.

Learn Best Practices from Industry Leaders

Industry leaders have developed best practice programs to improve performance and stop major accidents. Where can you learn about these best practices? At the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit.

The Global TapRooT® Summit has eight Best Practice Tracks:

Each track has its unique list of speakers/sessions that cover sharing best practices, new techniques to improve performance, and lessons learned.

Of course, all the tracks have excellent information. You might want to attend them all. But you can’t be in more than one place at a time (unless you bring a team). So, these three tracks are the ones that I would recommend for you to choose from:

Let’s look at each of them in more detail…

Safety Improvement Track

Ken Reed, VP at SI, will lead this track.

The Safety Improvement Track is for those who want fresh ideas and better results from their safety programs. We’ll be hearing Success Stories from TapRooT® Users, including how they’ve pushed past the “safety plateau” to reach new, improved levels of safety performance. We will also share knowledge of:

  • how to achieve high reliability,
  • how to improve investigations and RCA,
  • how fatigue affects safety and human performance, and
  • how process safety programs fail.

You will also develop a plan to improve your safety program when you return to work from the Summit.

CLICK HERE for a list of all the sessions in the track.

Creating a Superior Improvement Program Track

Tim Diggs is the leader of the Creating a Superior Improvement Program Track

Track Leader Tim Diggs

Did you know 85% of improvement programs fail over time or revert back to their initial state? Superior improvement programs are the 15% that have lasting and successful results. Whether you are evaluating the health of your current improvement program or just getting started, the Creating a Superior Improvement Program Track is your opportunity to know what you will need to have a successful and sustained improvement program. This track includes:

  • setting goals
  • developing improvement measures,
  • how to identify and investigate problems,
  • hearing about how the first high-reliability organization was built.

If we settle for “good enough,” improvement will stop.  Don’t settle. Make your improvement program world-class with the best practices you will learn in this track.

CLICK HERE for a list of all the sessions in the track.

Improving Human Performance Track

Alex Paradies will lead the Improving Human Performance Track.

The Improving Human Performance Track shares best practices to reduce human errors by making processes more intuitive and less error-prone (more resilient). The track focuses on advanced human and organizational performance tools (HOP2) and using advanced root cause analysis to improve the facilitation of learning teams. The track promotes networking and sharing best practices between attendees to develop a custom human performance improvement plan. The track is a perfect complement to the Stopping Human Error Course mentioned above.

CLICK HERE for a list of all the sessions in the track.

Make Improvement Happen & Stop Major Accidents/Fatalities!

I think everyone would agree that learning to stop a major accident is better than learning from a major accident. Also, preventing fatalities is one of the highest priorities of any safety program. Therefore, now is the time to get started preventing major accidents.

If you haven’t attended a 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course, you should pick one and REGISTER NOW!

If you need to learn more about stopping human errors and improving human performance, you should REGISTER for the Stopping Human Error Course NOW!

And if you want to make your improvement program WORLD-CLASS, you need to REGISTER NOW for the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit!

And don’t forget about the discounts that you get when you bring a team to the Summit…

Summit Discounts

Need more information? Click on the Summit Brochure below to download your copy…

Investigations, Safety, Summit
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