Insight into the Root Cause Analysis method

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a method for exploring the fundamental causes of an identified problem, in an effort to correct it. It is a tool designed to help categorize what, how and why an event occurred. After the answers to these three questions have been formulated, the investigators strive to specify the workable corrective measures that can prevent the repetition of such failures.

A structured systems approach is employed in a Root Cause Analysis. The participants ensure that they gain a clear picture of the problem or critical event and then proceed to put actions into place.

General Guidelines for carrying out Root Cause Analysis


The general principles can be applied to any problem-solving activities. However, it should be noted that a full root-cause-analysis can be a resource-intensive procedure; hence it is normally applied to high risk or high impact events only.

It should be kept in mind that the success of the analysis is dependent on the effectiveness of the investigative and drilling techniques. The general guidelines for the process are:

  • Description of the event
  • Organization of the root-cause-analysis team
  • Gaining a detailed insight into the process leading to the critical event
  • Understanding the causes of variation
  • Opting for the optimal strategies to reduce risk involved
  • Going through the PDCA cycle

By employing the proactive methods for identifying and eliminating the repetitive problems, the root-cause-analysis helps reducing the maintenance and operational costs of a project and helps achieve improved equipment availability and reliability.

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