Downloadable Root Cause Analysis Template

We have all faced one situation or another at work where someone or thing was injured (or nearly injured). When incidents arise, we often rise to the challenge and help those in need. But reactive management is only half the battle when it comes to incidents. We need to perform a root cause analysis to get to the real causes that allowed the incident to occur.

Root cause analysis is the investigation process that occurs following an incident to determine the reason or reasons an incident occurred. Using a standardized template, like the downloadable root cause analysis template, will help organize your RCA efforts.

Every business and organization must prepare for the eventuality of incidents. Therefore a predefined plan for incident reporting and root cause analysis is vital to your operations.

Out of this need for a defined root cause analysis action plan, we’ve created a digital and downloadable PDF version of a standard RCA template for you (keep reading to get to the download point).

This article will cover what’s included in the template, the primary use of the RCA template benefits to its use, some RCA tips, and lastly, an even better solution for your RCA processes than a downloadable one. So stick around and keep reading for your chance to see how an effective RCA action plan can help your business. 

Included In The Root Cause Analysis Template

The root cause analysis template consists of three pages. The document breaks down into seven primary sections:

  1. Administrative Area
  2. Incident Documentation
  3. Leading Event Determination
  4. Further Investigative Information
  5. Root Cause Identification
  6. Corrective Action Identification
  7. Recommended Preventive Strategy
  8. Root Cause Analysis Summary

All elements of the RCA template are critical to a successful analysis. The areas of the template are relatively simple to comprehend, rooted in a common-sense reporting strategy. We’ll go more in-depth into each area of the template in the following section detailing how to use it effectively.

How To Use The Root Cause Analysis Template

Although the free and downloadable RCA template provided here is fairly straight forward, there are a few key points we’d like to share for each section.

  • Administrative Area

In most organizations, an RCA finds completion by way of a committee or board of investigation. The RCA template’s administrative area provides a place to document the names of the RCA committee members and includes the standard information needed on any report. The standard information includes the name and address of the organization, facility, date, and more.

  • Incident Documentation

The second area of the RCA template is the Incident Documentation area. This area finds use to note the incident report or other document number that generated the RCA (if applicable). Also, we have provided a large area to describe the incident in detail. It should include any injuries, damages, suspected causes, and other vital information about the event.

  • Leading Event Determination

The leading event determination area of the RCA holds eight questions. These questions are strategic and instrumental in helping the RCA committee work through the primary leading events that were prerequisites to the incident’s occurrence.

  • Further Investigative Information

Often with incident reports and RCA investigations, more information is required that may not have found itself recorded on the initial incident report or other documents. There may be situations where a follow-up interview or data collection is needed.

The further investigative information (FII) includes a table to document witness names, contact information, and testimonies. There are also an additional five strategic questions to elicit further information about the incident for your RCA investigation.

  • Root Cause Identification

Once you have made your way to the RCA template’s root cause identification area, all significant causes and conditions that triggered the incident should already be documented. This section can list the major contributing factors and assign a probability of involvement value to each factor. By the end of this section of the template, you should indicate the incident’s root cause.

  • Corrective Action Identification

When an incident occurs, the first thing we do is spring into reactive management mode. Any time an injury occurs, it is the logical thing to see to aiding any wounded. Similarly, in an exposed hazard, we make our safety attempt to contain the hazard or call appropriate authorities for assistance.

No matter what actions someone has taken to aid any injured or contain a hazard, the corrective action identification area is where you must record these actions.

  • Recommended Preventive Strategy

Sometimes the reactive management of an incident is all that is required to contain and correct a hazardous situation. However, there are many circumstances where this is not the case, and other resolutions are required.

The RCA template’s recommended preventive strategy area gives the committee a place to document suggested different responses or strategies mitigate the possibility of incident repetition.

  • Root Cause Analysis Summary

The final section of our RCA template provides not only a sign-off by the RCA team leader it also provides a section to summarize the findings of the report. Often in organizations, a final and brief synopsis of an event is required, and this area provides a place to document this summary.

Benefits Of Completing A Root Cause Analysis

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Completing root cause analysis is vital in organizations fighting to prevent injuries and hazards to people and property. With a robust reporting process, businesses might drastically reduce workplace incidents through progressive preventive measures. But how do businesses determine what preventive measures to take?

The primary benefit of performing a Root Cause Analysis is an organization’s ability to comprehend how incidents occur entirely. This view allows the organization to strategically plan and implement strategies to prevent injuries and incidents within the workplace environment.

But the benefits of a completed RCA don’t stop with just showing organizations what causes incidents. The other benefits include:

  • Promoting team atmosphere – through a formation of an RCA committee
  • Promoting safe working environments – by way of implementing new strategies to avoid incidents and hazards
  • Preventing untimely work stoppages – by preventing incidents that could affect your operations
  • Increase staff safety awareness – by showing staff that action occurs to correct and prevent hazards
  • Inspire a positive safety culture – when the staff knows that action would occur when needed; it grows staff trust within a company to promote a safer workplace culture.

Root Cause Analysis Investigation Tips

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Several progressive strategies for root cause analysis can dramatically increase your organization’s ability to drive your reporting processes efficiently. Here are a few of these strategies in the form of tips to help guide you and your business to an effective RCA solution.

  1. Form an impartial RCA committee from varying levels of staff and management.

Using a committee that is populated with staff from varying management levels and even from different departments is a wise choice for an organization. Having a committee only populated by upper management will cause an intimidation factor within the staff. This intimidation factor (fear of reprisals) will inhibit your incident reporting regiment. 

When an RCA committee is populated by staff peers and members of management and (or) human resources, employees will feel less fear of reprisal and more willingness to display honesty and integrity regarding the incident reporting process.

  1. Document incidents using appropriate reports or templates and include these with your RCA for reference.

Using the appropriate documentation for each type of incident allows an organization to hone in its reporting process. This sophistication allows RCA committees to obtain more accurate data from the initial report or reports that may have spawned the RCA in the first place.

If you need to include more sophisticated and specialized reports in your organization’s reporting processes, take a look at our incident report template library, where you will find a variety of downloadable templates to suit your reporting needs.

  1. Utilize digital tools to speed up the reporting process.

If you want a more accurate, efficient, and time-saving solution, take a look at the 1ST Incident Reporting app. We are the incident reporting specialists and have created a system to help your organization stay on top of your reporting requirements.

Here are just a few of the features you could be taking advantage of:

  • Instant and customizable notifications
  • Multiple report defaults with customization options
  • Digital reporting accessibility via nearly any mobile device
  • Upload ability for media such as video, audio, or images to enhance your reports

The Last Word On Root Cause Analysis Templates

Completing a root cause analysis is best completed using a predefined process and template. There are many different methods for completing an RCA and thus several possible methodologies for template creation.

Using a template that coincides with your particular methodology is one approach to efficiently completing the RCA. Please read our article Conducting A Root Cause Analysis: Incident To Final Report for more information about the RCA and the methodologies used in its completion.

With the free and downloadable root cause analysis provided here, your company or organization will become better equipped to set up an RCA process within your operations. And an efficient working reporting program will help prevent further incidents and lower your operating costs relating to incidents as well. 


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