Root Causes - Potential Pete & Wreck-It Roy

You may have seen content across our social media mentioning ‘Pete and Roy’, or you might have attended an industry event and heard members of our team talk about these mysterious yet important characters that can be found in every organisation across any industry.

We spend a lot of our time talking to different companies about the importance of understanding the hidden root causes which contribute to undesirable outcomes across the full spectrum of failure types. Only by understanding and addressing root causation can continuous improvement in QHSE management be achieved. We have found that Pete and Roy really help us get this message across. With this in mind, if you haven’t already met them, we’d like to introduce you to our two mischief makers and their very distinct characteristics that often go unnoticed until it's too late: Meet Potential Pete and Wreck-It Roy.

These characters represent that root causation that lurks beneath the surface of everyday operations, quietly waiting to wreak havoc on unsuspecting, well-meaning organisations.

But fear not, for there is a comprehensive solution to catch Pete and Roy before they strike — COMET, the ultimate EHS risk management toolkit. In this blog, we'll explore who Pete and Roy are, their significance in assurance, investigation, and root cause learning (RCL), and how understanding them can lead to more proactive preventive measures.

Introducing the Root Causes, Wreck-It Roy and Potential Pete

Meet Wreck-it Roy and Potential Pete, the dynamic duo responsible for causing chaos and calamity in the workplace. Wreck-it Roy embodies the active root cause, the guy with immediate consequences, while Potential Pete represents the lurking, dormant root cause waiting to

escalate into his loud Cousin and an actual event. Together, they symbolise why the dangers that threaten organisational risk management and performance exist.

Let’s learn a bit more about each of these characters because neglecting either will inevitably

Meet Potential Pete - The Dormant Threat

Dormant Root Cause - Potential Pete

Pete is what we call a dormant root cause. He lurks beneath the surface, often unnoticed, until circumstances align to awaken his potential for disruption. Pete is patient, observant, and adaptable. He represents the often-hidden factors within an organisation that have the potential to escalate delivering minor incidents right through to major disasters if you don’t actively go looking for him and stop him.

Unlike Roy, Pete doesn't actively cause chaos; instead, he waits for the right conditions to emerge. Identifying and addressing Pete requires a proactive approach, delivered through your assurance activities like audits, inspections, learning teams, and reviews.

Key characteristics:

- Dormant root cause

- Observant, adaptable

- Lurks patiently, waiting for the perfect time to ‘activate’

- Has the potential to cause chaos if overlooked

Meet Wreck-It Roy - The Active Catalyst

Active Root Cause - Wreck-It Roy

On the other hand, we have Roy, the active root cause. Roy is impulsive, disruptive, and unpredictable. He's the troublemaker who is always ready to cause chaos. Roy is a creature of habit, often embodying those systemic causes that drive the majority of incidents, always leading to consequences that can attack safety, quality, environment and of course reputation.

Unlike Pete, Roy's impact is direct and immediate. Neglecting to address him can turn a minor issue into a catastrophe. Understanding Roy involves analysing incidents, near misses and non-conformances, identifying patterns of behaviour, and implementing preventive actions to mitigate his influence.

Key characteristics:

- Active Root Cause

- Impulsive and unpredictable

- His impact has consequence

Significance of Understanding Root Causes Pete and Roy:

Understanding the roles of root causes Potential Pete and Wreck-It Roy are essential for effective incident prevention and EHS risk management. While Roy's actions may be more obvious, Pete's influence can be just as significant, if not more so, in the longer term. Simply ignoring either Pete or Roy can lead to costly and avoidable incidents, highlighting the critical need for a root cause analysis system that delivers both leading and lagging analytics. By identifying both dormant and active root causes, organisations can implement proactive, preventive measures, grow a culture of continuous improvement, and enhance overall performance.

Understanding Root Cause Learning (RCL):

Root cause learning is the key to understanding what is behind the incidents and preventing future occurrences. Pete and Roy thrive in environments where root causes are overlooked or misunderstood, often only looked at in isolation. Therefore, it's crucial to have the right tools to analyse their collective behaviours and characteristics to effectively mitigate risks.

COMET: An EHS Risk Management System:

COMET is a technology-enabled EHS toolkit designed to identify, analyse, and mitigate root causes before they escalate into incidents. It gives organisations a proactive and structured approach to investigation and assurance, allowing them to identify and resolve the underlying causes of failure. COMET empowers organisations to proactively address all risks and enhance overall performance.

How COMET Helps You Catch Root Causes:

COMET's advanced capabilities make it the ideal solution for identifying and analysing root causes (Pete and Roy) before they wreak havoc. By leveraging data analytics, human factor analysis, and proactive prevention strategies, COMET provides organisations with the tools they need to stay one (or several!) steps ahead of potential incidents.

Moving from Reactive to Proactive Safety Management:

COMET guides organisations towards proactive preventive measures and a culture of continuous improvement and learning. While Pete may lie dormant, waiting for the right conditions to emerge, Roy is always ready to cause chaos. Understanding and addressing both Pete and Roy are essential for effective incident prevention and continuous improvement.

With COMET by their side, organisations embrace a future of continuous improvement, enhance safety culture and create safer environments for all stakeholders involved.

Mark Rushton, CEO, COMET said;

“We’re leading a movement from reactive prevention to proactive prevention and supporting industries to prevent undesirable events, of any nature or scale,  from happening in the first place.”

So, let us help you get to know the Wreck-it Roy’s and Potential Pete’s lurking in your business. Because neglecting either one in the workplace can lead to costly and avoidable incidents.

Switch the dial from reactive to proactive prevention and stop incidents before they occur or repeat themselves. Take the first step and book your demo of COMET today!