October 13, 2019
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Root Cause Analysis Books for Reliability

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Effective RCA can arguably be one of the most valuable tools to any organization. This is especially true for large asset intensive companies. There are many issues that arise and if there is not a plan in place to deal with these issues then the facility can become very reactive. The challenge with effective RCA, is when do we apply the resources to identify the root causes of a problem? There are simply too many issues that arise to effectively solve every one. Therefore, a more intelligent approach must be taken to select the right issues to resolve.

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Authored and Co-Authored Books:

RCA BooksRoot Cause Analysis: Improving Performance for Bottom Line Results – 5th Edition:
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This book comprehensively outlines what a holistic and effective Root Cause Analysis (RCA) system looks like. From the designing of the support infrastructure to the measuring of effectiveness on the bottom-line, this book provides the blueprint for making it happen. While traditionally RCA is viewed as a reactive tool, the authors will show how it can be applied proactively to prevent failures from occurring in the first place. RCA is a key element of any successful Reliability Engineering initiative. Such initiatives are comprised of equipment, process and human reliability foundations. Human Reliability is critical to the success of a true RCA approach.

This book explores the anatomy of a failure (undesirable outcome) as well as a potential failure (high risks). Virtually all failures are triggered by errors of omission or commission by human beings. The methodologies described in this book are applicable to any industry because the focus is on the human being’s ability to think through why things go wrong, not on the industry or the nature of the failure. This book correlates Reliability to Safety as well as Human Performance Improvement efforts. The author has provided a healthy balance between theory and practical application, wrapping up with case studies demonstrating bottom-line results.


  • Outlines in detail every aspect of an effective RCA ‘system’
  • Displays appreciation for the role of understanding the physics of a failure as well as the human and system’s contribution
  • Demonstrates the role of RCA in a comprehensive Asset Performance
  • Management (APM) system
  • Explores the correlation between Reliability Engineering and Safety
  • Integrates the concepts of Human Performance Improvement, Learning Teams, and Human Error Reduction approaches into RCA


Chapter 1. Introduction to the PROACT Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Work Process
Chapter 2. Introduction to Root Cause Analysis
Chapter 3. Creating the Environment to Succeed
Chapter 4. Failure Classification
Chapter 5. Preserving Event Data
Chapter 6. Ordering the Analysis Team
Chapter 7. Analyzing the Data
Chapter 8. Communicating Recommendations & Findings

Chapter 9. Tracking for Bottom-Line Results
Chapter 10. Proactive Human Error Reduction Techniques (HERT)
Chapter 11. The Role of RCA in Reliability and Safety

Chapter 12. RCA Investigation Management System
Chapter 13. Root Cause Analysis Case Histories

Authored By: Robert J. Latino, CEO. Reliability Center, Mark Latino, President Reliability Center, and Kenneth C. Latino, APM Product Manager, GE Digital

root cause analysis booksRoot Cause Analysis: Improving Performance for Bottom Line Results – 4th Edition.
Now in its fourth edition, “Root Cause Analysis: Improving Performance for bottom-Line Results” continues to explore why things don’t work out as planned and how to make sure they do. While past editions have focused on Failure Modes and Effects Analysis and Opportunity Analysis, this new edition emphasizes evidence collection and strategy and the contribution of human performance and human factors to poor decision making and understanding the human element. New topics covered include PROACTOnDemand, the advantages of SaaS, RCA templates, as well as various case studies illustrating RCA.
Robert J. Latino, Kenneth C. Latino, and Mark A. Latino 4th Edition, 2011, c. 280 pp., ISBN: 9781439850923, Taylor & Francis. Boca Raton.

Patient Safety root cause analysisPatient Safety: The PROACT Root Cause Analysis Approach.
This book addresses the proactive methodologies and organizational paradigms that must change in order to support and sustain such activities in the interest of patient safety. Written by reliability expert Robert J. Latino, this book provides a perspective on patient care from outside the health industry and culture. It teaches a proven approach that measures its effectiveness based on patient safety results, rather than compliance, and demonstrates the Return-On-Investment for using RCA to reduce and/or eliminate undesirable outcomes. Addressing the contribution of human error to physical consequences, it explores ways to identify conditions which are more prone to result in human error. It also uses FMEA to proactively identify unacceptable risks, and then uses the concepts of RCA to prevent risks from materializing.
Robert J. Latino 2008, c. 272 pp., ISBN 9781420087277, Taylor and Francis. Boca Raton.

Error Reduction in HC RCAError Reduction in Healthcare: A Systems Approach to Improving Patient Safety.
Completely revised and updated, this second edition of Error Reduction in Health Care offers a step-by-step guide for implementing the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine to reduce the frequency of errors in health care services and to mitigate the impact of errors when they do occur. With contributions from noted leaders in health safety, Error Reduction in Health Care provides information on analyzing accidents and shows how systematic methods can be used to understand hazards before accidents occur. In the chapters, authors explore how to prioritize risks to accurately focus efforts in a systems redesign, including performance measures and human factors. This expanded edition covers contemporary material on innovative patient safety topics such as applying Lean principles to reduce mistakes, opportunity analysis, deductive adverse event investigation, improving safety through collaboration with patients and families, using technology for patient safety improvements, medication safety, and high reliability organizations.
Contributing Author: Robert J. Latino 2nd Edition, 2011 [Apr], c. 284, ISBN: 1-55648-271-X, AHA Press.

Patient Safety compliance handbookThe Handbook of Patient Safety Compliance: A Practical Guide for Health Care Organizations.
Written for virtually every professional and leader in the health care field, as well as students who are preparing for careers in health services delivery, this book presents a framework for developing a patient safety program, shows how best to examine events that do occur, and reveals how to ensure that appropriate corrective and preventative actions are reviewed for effectiveness.

The book covers a comprehensive selection of topics including:

  • The link between patient safety and legal and regulatory compliance
  • The role of accreditation and standard-setting organizations in patient safety
  • Failure modes and effect analysis
  • Voluntary and regulatory oversight of medical error
  • Evidence-based outcomes and standards of care

Contributing Author: Robert J. Latino 2005, c. 350 pp. ISBN 0-7879-6510-3, Jossey-Bass

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Book Reviews…

Nigel Dove

This book has taken our procedures one large step further with a coherent, effective method to analyze and document a problem to root cause.

Nigel Dove
NovaChem, Montreal Quebec, CN

Jeanine Katzel

Informative, well-illustrated and well-organized text is worthwhile reading for any plant engineer seeking to understand why errors occur and to eliminate them, and have a direct positive impact on his company’s bottom line.

Jeanine Katzel - Senior Editor
Plant Engineering Magazine

John Van Auken

This book not only demonstrates how to “Talk the Talk”, but also how to “Walk the Walk”. It is well written and logically explains the steps leading to more reliable equipment. As a Maintenance Professional for 26 years, I am a firm believer in Root Cause Failure Analysis and highly recommend reading this book.

John Van Auken - RCA Champion
Ispat-Inland Steel

Anonymous Book Reviewer

Having been a practitioner in the field of RCA , I was particularly impressed with the chapter on “Creating the Environment to Succeed” (Chapter 2). It clearly outlines the proactive steps for management to take to ensure the success of the effort, improving bottom-line performance. I have found this to be a necessity for any initiative in an organization.

Anonymous Amazon Reviewer

Daryl Mather

If you are serious about a reliability growth program in your site, then you need this book! As assets become more sophisticated, and we become more reliant on machinery, human error (and the reasons for it) are a far greater part of the reliability picture. This book will provide even greater support to companies that want to get the most out of their physical assets, and the PROACT methodology will continue to deliver unique value as they continue to evolve the method.

Daryl Mather - Owner and Principal Consultant
Reliability Success Pty Ltd

Richard Burow

This book gives you the tools to develop a strong reliability program. In my 35 years as a mechanical engineer (P.E.) in the chemical industry, I have seen several “programs” come and go. Reliability, when proactive as taught by RCI, is the one program that consistently documents very large savings to cost ratios. In order to survive in the 21st century, industry must have a strong reliability program. RCI is a pioneer (since the 1950’s) in reliability and in particular teaching and training industry in using this valuable tool.

Richard Burow - Mechanical Engineer
Tennessee Eastman, Kingsport, TN

Tim Stovall

As assets become more sophisticated, and we become more reliant on machinery, human error (and the reasons for it) are a far greater part of the reliability picture. This book will provide even greater support to companies that want to get the most out of their physical assets, and the PROACT methodology will continue to deliver unique value as they continue to evolve the method.

Tim Stovall, CMRP, Reliability Leader
NOVA Chemicals, Inc.

Alan Laundry

Having been involved since 1988 in the use of RCI’s root cause methodology, I know it provides repeatable success regardless of the magnitude of failure or type of industry. I can solidly contribute $10 million in savings from using the process. The knowledge in this book  will stop the cycle of repeated failures.

Alan Laundry, Tech. Services Manager
Westcoast Energy, Inc., Ft. St. John, BC.

Krishna B. Misra

The reviewer would like to recommend this book to all reliability and maintenance engineers for a serious look at the material presented in the book and to reliability schools for graduating engineering students. It is a good book that explains the root cause analysis approach to engineering systems.

Krishna B. Misra
International Journal of Performability Engineering