The 5 Whys technique is a simpler form of fault tree analysis for investigations, especially investigations of specific accidents as opposed to chronic problems.
The 5 Whys technique is a brainstorming technique that identifies root causes of accidents by asking why events occurred or conditions existed.
The 5 Whys process involves selecting one event associated with an accident and asking why this event occurred. This produces the most direct cause of the event. For each of these subevents or causes, ask why it occurred. Repeat the process for the other events associated with the accident.
The 5 Whys technique is an effective tool for determining causal factors and identifying root causes. However, it does have three primary limitations:
Source: USCG Risk-based Decision-making (RBDM) Guidelines.
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