Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Root Cause Failure Analysis Evidence Collection Kit for Forensic Reliability

If you have seen the latest episode of CSI on TV then you have seen evidence collection kits in action. These are the tool boxes that the team uses after they arrive to the crime scene. They contain tools and forms that allow the CSI team to collect information, data, and samples to facilitate their investigation.  Do you have a similar kit or toolbox for your plant’s reliability crime scenes? For example, say you have a failure that exceeds the RCFA process triggers for an investigation but as is the norm, it happens in the middle of the night on the weekend. How do you get the failed components, videos or pictures of the scene, samples of the fluids, interviews of the parties present?  If you wait until you are back in the plant the evidence is cleaned up and gone and the stories have changed with time. That is where the kit comes in. If you have triggers for your equipment then you socialize them to those in the area then when they are met the kit is retrieved and the evidence is collected and store for your use later to solve the problem with the best data leading to the best results.
Below is a starter list of some of the things that you might have in your RCA Evidence Collection Kit.


Incident report

Interview questionnaires

Pads for notes and sketches


Flash light

Pens/ Markers/ grease pens

Measuring tapes

Resealable bags for small parts and product samples

Oil sample containers

Tags to label larger parts



Feeler and thread gauges

V belt gauges to check wear on pulleys


Bore scope



Magnifying glass

Scrapers to clean off asset tags and ID Plates and collect samples

Inspection mirrors for seeing the back side of things

Wire brushes for cleaning tags to collect name plate data

Camera (disposable or digital)

Caution tape to block areas as required

Sources of additional data:

PLC data

Security video

DCS data



Operating logs

Production reports


  1. Shon,
    Thanks for sharing the information you do on reliability. Just now checking into your blog and finding it useful.
    As you write here, we also teach RCFA in a CSI class setting. Works well and fun.
    Bill Schlegel

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