Understanding why we make mistakes is an important step in minimizing human errors so that employees have better control over actions that cause lost time in both injury and productivity.
In the Reliability world a lot of time is spent doing root cause analysis (RCA.) RCA is one of the cornerstones of a great Reliability effort. When RCA is performed a number of root causes are discovered and recommendations are supplied to the stakeholders for implementation.
Often the stakeholders do not see the importance that the human being plays in the overall maintainability of their assets. It becomes more of a “Let’s get it running” mentality that is satisfied at the component level and ignoring the human and systems issues.
Dealing with recommendation implementation in this manner is good if your goal is staying within a company constrained budget. However, if your goal is continuous improvement then this strategy will not provide the desired outcome you seek. A continuous improvement strategy should be to use the RCA tool the way that it was intended.
The results of most RCA investigations involve some element of human performance. Statistically, 67% of all equipment failures have a component that relates to a decision or an action that directly caused or contributed to the event. This is true for managers, supervisors and workers. When we do a RCA, it is essential for us to recognize the human element and to identify when these elements are important components to the overall corrective actions strategy.