November 10, 2021 | Mark Paradies

Tough Investigation? Get Investigation Facilitation Help!

When Do You Need an Investigation Facilitation to Help With a Tough Investigation?

When you learn how to use TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis, we teach you what you need so that you can perform a thorough root cause analysis. But there are times when you still might need some help – an investigation facilitation.

What kinds of investigations should be on your to ask for help with an investigation facilitation?

  • Customer Disputes
  • Legal/Regulatory Issue
  • Union Issues
  • Overwhelmed
  • Just Learning

Let’s look at each of these and see if getting investigation facilitation help might be useful for your company.

Customer Disputes

It’s always tough when a customer has a problem and blames your product/service. I remember an example of a company that was facing a large EPA fine. They blamed it on one of our client’s products. We facilitated the investigation and by the time we had the SnapCharT® completed, they recognized that their operating practices had caused the incident. They thanked our client for the help and went off (slightly embarrassed) to finish the root cause analysis on their own. A couple of months later they became TapRooT® Users.

What do you do if you think that the product/service was OK but instead, the customer’s actions caused the problem? A facilitated root cause analysis could be a big help. The customer is more likely to believe the results of a facilitated investigation that they participated in. And TapRooT®’s focus on what happened rather than blame always helps everyone leave with a sense of accomplishment.

Legal/Regulatory Issue

If this incident is going to end up in court or become a regulatory issue, you need the help of your company’s legal team. They may want to do a privileged investigation. Also, they may need the help of an experienced facilitator for investigation facilitation.

Why would they need the help of an experienced facilitator? Two major reasons. First, they would like to be assured of a complete root cause analysis so that they aren’t surprised by an “incomplete” investigation in court or when dealing with the regulator. When a company has an air-tight root cause analysis with all the Causal Factors identified and effective corrective actions for all the root causes, regulators and the court are more likely to look favorably on the company’s actions and have less harsh penalties.

Second, investigations that are going to end up in court or cause regulatory actions, are usually major investigations. For these investigations, it is good to have an independent set of eyes to make sure that all the problems are identified and fixed to make sure the incident never happens again. A good facilitator can help by asking questions that people familiar with the plant might not ask…

“Why do you do it that way?”

And bring up practices from other facilities or industries that might help your company improve performance.

Finally, if the outside facilitator isn’t involved in facilitating the investigation, the legal team might want an independent review of the investigation under attorney/client privilege. Again, this would help assure the legal team that every fact was uncovered and the investigation wasn’t built on suppositions.

Union Issue

Ever had an investigation that gets contentious with a union? Why? Because:

  • Discipline has been suggested as a corrective action.
  • The union thinks that all the HSE issues have not been corrected.

Here are some articles about union impacts on health and safety issues:

Since health and safety should be a concern for unions and management, this is a great place for cooperation. And TapRooT® RCA is a great way to promote cooperation.

Therefore, this may be time to ask for help. If there is a contentious health and safety issue, an outside facilitator provides an independent perspective and can help both sides see how to achieve the most effective improvements.


Do you have too many incidents to investigate? You just can’t keep up and your backlog of investigations seems overwhelming? Then you might need help.

First, we can help you review your investigation policies and see if you are investigating incidents that really don’t need investigating or suggest ways to make your investigations more efficient (faster).

But if that doesn’t reduce your backlog, maybe you need temporary help. Staff augmentation with outside facilitators to help investigate incidents and provide your investigators with valuable feedback. This can help you get back on track and reduce the future number of investigations by improving performance.

Just Learning

I always hope that new investigators get a chance to practice using TapRooT® RCA on some smaller incidents before they have to tackle a major investigation. I always recommend an experienced investigator for major investigations.

But what happens if you just started using TapRooT® RCA and all your investigators are inexperienced? Ask us for HELP! Have us provide investigation facilitation. Our coach can help you with that first difficult investigation and it can become a win-win. The company investigator will learn more about investigating a major incident and the investigator will provide a much better investigation using TapRooT® RCA.

Investigation Facilitation – We Can Help

System Improvements has 40+ experienced investigators around the world. We can provide an experienced facilitator when you need it. They will be an independent set of eyes and help your team produce a first-class investigation.

Need an investigation facilitation? Call us at 865-539-2139. Or CLICK HERE to request assistance.

We will get a facilitation agreement in place and help you achieve an excellent investigation.

And watch this video for a few more ideas about when you may need investigation facilitation assistance…

Investigations, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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