Unit of competency details

MSS402080A - Undertake root cause analysis (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to MSACMT280A - Undertake root cause analysis 01/May/2012
Is superseded by and equivalent to MSS402080 - Undertake root cause analysisSupersedes and is equivalent to MSS402080A Undertake root cause analysis 21/Jun/2016

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 02/May/2012

Training packages that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PMA - Chemical, Hydrocarbons and RefiningChemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining 1.0 
PMB07 - Plastics, Rubber and Cablemaking Training PackagePlastics, Rubber and Cablemaking Training Package 2.0 
ICP - Printing and Graphic ArtsPrinting and Graphic Arts 1.0-1.1,2.0-3.0 
AUM - Automotive ManufacturingAutomotive Manufacturing 2.0 
MSM - Manufacturing Training PackageManufacturing Training Package 2.0 
MSA07 - Manufacturing Training PackageManufacturing Training Package 8.0-8.4 
MSF - Furnishing Training PackageFurnishing Training Package 1.0-2.0 
PMA08 - Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining Training PackageChemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining Training Package 4.0-5.0 
MEM05 - Metal and Engineering Training PackageMetal and Engineering Training Package 9.0-11.1 
MSS11 - Sustainability Training PackageSustainability Training Package 2.0-3.0 
UEG11 - Gas Industry Training PackageGas Industry Training Package 2.0 
PMC10 - Manufactured Mineral ProductsManufactured Mineral Products 1.1 
TLI - Transport and Logistics Training PackageTransport and Logistics Training Package 2.0-3.1 
DEF - Defence Training PackageDefence Training Package 1.0-3.0 
UEE11 - Electrotechnology Training PackageElectrotechnology Training Package 1.1-1.5 
DEF12 - Defence Training PackageDefence Training Package 2.0 
SFI11 - Seafood Industry Training PackageSeafood Industry Training Package 1.1-2.2 
LMT07 - Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Training PackageTextiles, Clothing and Footwear Training Package 4.1 
FDF10 - Food ProcessingFood Processing 4.0-4.1 

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
LMT20607 - Certificate II in Clothing Production (Intermediate)Certificate II in Clothing Production (Intermediate)Superseded
MSA20107 - Certificate II in Process ManufacturingCertificate II in Process ManufacturingSuperseded3-4 
LMT30507 - Certificate III in Clothing ProductionCertificate III in Clothing ProductionSuperseded
PMA30116 - Certificate III in Process Plant OperationsCertificate III in Process Plant OperationsSuperseded
FDF40210 - Certificate IV in Pharmaceutical ManufacturingCertificate IV in Pharmaceutical ManufacturingSuperseded
LMT31210 - Certificate III in Dry Cleaning OperationsCertificate III in Dry Cleaning OperationsSuperseded
AUM30213 - Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and TrailerCertificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and TrailerSuperseded
AUM20118 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Passenger Motor VehicleCertificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Passenger Motor VehicleCurrent
MSA30208 - Certificate III in Manufacturing TechnologyCertificate III in Manufacturing TechnologyCurrent3-4 
SFI20511 - Certificate II in Seafood ProcessingCertificate II in Seafood ProcessingSuperseded2-3 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080317 Quality Management  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080317 Quality Management  07/Aug/2012 
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Modification History

New unit, superseding MSACMT280A Undertake root cause analysis - Equivalent

Unit Descriptor

This unit of competency covers the skills and knowledge required to undertake root cause analysis (RCA) by any person. This will often be undertaken by people working in a team. This unit also covers the competencies needed by operators to contribute to an advanced maintenance strategy using RCA coupled with diagrams and charts.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to individuals working in an organisation which is applying competitive systems and practices strategies. The unit applies to the formal problem solving to root cause that the individual must undertake in their own work area or where the individual contributes to problem solving to root cause as part of a team.

This unit requires an ability to seek and apply information from a variety of sources in order to inform RCAs. Initiative and enterprise is also required to identify quick fix and permanent solutions to problems.

Where training in a wider range of problem solving techniques and tools is required the unit MSAPMSUP390A Use structured problem solving tools  should be selected.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Recognise problems


Identify features or occurrences indicative of a problem


Use appropriate tools, techniques and charts to define the problem


Implement quick fix


Recommend a quick fix within the scope of competency and authority


Use technology or processes relevant to the problem to implement quick fix


Determine root cause


Identify a range of possible causes


Gather data and other information to eliminate or confirm possible causes


Use available data and information to link causes and effects


Seek assistance, as required


Identify root cause


Develop permanent solution


Identify a range of methods to eliminate the root cause or break the cause tree


Select the most appropriate solution


Liaise with relevant people


Recommend or implement solution within the limits of competency and authority


Monitor impact of solution and make further recommendations, as required

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

Required skills include:

  • cooperating and working with others on problem solving
  • assessing and recording information from a variety of sources
  • defining potential problems factually, including:
  • location and extent of problem or incident
  • sequence of events where relevant
  • extent of deviation from normal operation or performance
  • analysing potential problems across a range of varied activities and knowledge applications
  • reading and constructing simple charts, such as cause and effect diagrams

Required knowledge 

Required knowledge includes:

  • RCA methodology, including difference between quick fixes and root cause elimination or breaking of causal tree
  • principles and normal operation of equipment, plant and processes in own work area sufficient to undertake a RCA and propose solutions
  • common variances to normal performance that are indicators of a problem
  • use of relevant analysis tools (e.g. cause/effect diagrams, Pareto charts and 5 Whys)
  • operations in own work area

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

A person who demonstrates competency in this unit must be able to provide evidence of the ability to:

  • undertake problem identification
  • use appropriate processes to achieve root cause identification
  • prioritise solutions
  • recommend solutions and implementation procedures to problems within own area and range of technical skills and knowledge
  • evaluate implementation of solutions.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of performance must be undertaken in a workplace using or implementing one or more competitive systems and practices.

Access may be required to:

  • workplace procedures and plans relevant to work area
  • specifications and documentation relating to planned, currently being implemented, or implemented changes to work processes and procedures relevant to the assessee
  • documentation and information in relation to production, waste, overheads and hazard control/management
  • reports from supervisors/managers
  • case studies and scenarios to assess response to contingencies.

Method of assessment 

A holistic approach should be taken to the assessment.

Competence in this unit may be assessed by using a combination of the following to generate evidence:

  • demonstration in the workplace
  • workplace projects
  • suitable simulation
  • case studies/scenarios (particularly for assessment of contingencies, improvement scenarios, and so on)
  • targeted questioning
  • reports from supervisors, peers and colleagues (third-party reports)
  • portfolio of evidence.

In all cases it is expected that practical assessment will be combined with targeted questioning to assess underpinning knowledge.

Where applicable, reasonable adjustment must be made to work environments and training situations to accommodate ethnicity, age, gender, demographics and disability.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment processes and techniques must be culturally appropriate and appropriate to the oracy, language and literacy capacity of the candidate and the work being performed.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Competitive systems and practices 

Competitive systems and practices may include, but are not limited to:

  • lean operations
  • agile operations
  • preventative and predictive maintenance approaches
  • monitoring and data gathering systems, such as Systems Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Materials Resource Planning (MRP) and proprietary systems
  • statistical process control systems, including six sigma and three sigma
  • Just in Time (JIT), kanban and other pull-related operations control systems
  • supply, value, and demand chain monitoring and analysis
  • 5S
  • continuous improvement (kaizen)
  • breakthrough improvement (kaizen blitz)
  • cause/effect diagrams
  • overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • takt time
  • process mapping
  • problem solving
  • run charts
  • standard procedures
  • current reality tree

Competitive systems and practices should be interpreted so as to take into account:

  • the stage of implementation of competitive systems and practices
  • the size of the enterprise
  • the work organisation, culture, regulatory environment and the industry sector

Features or occurrences indicative of a problem 

Examples of features or occurrences indicating problems include:

  • variation to normal plant or equipment operation
  • unplanned or non-conforming process or operations outcomes
  • out of specification products
  • excess scrap
  • accidents and emergencies
  • regulatory breaches
  • customer returns and complaints
  • reduction or loss of sales

Root cause  

There are many possible causes of any problem. The root cause contrasts with other possible causes of a problem which when eliminated have no impact or only ameliorate the problem. Elimination of the root cause permanently eliminates the problem. There should only be one root cause for any problem and so the analysis should continue until this one cause is found.

Cause tree 

The series of causes is referred to as the cause tree. Not all root causes are accessible and able to be eliminated. Breaking the cause tree is such a way that the problem cannot recur is an acceptable alternative.

Not all situations can wait for the RCA and eventual elimination of the root cause as there may be serious current impacts. The quick fix will control these immediate impacts, but does not eliminate the root cause.

Quick fix 

A quick fix is not a short cut or side step for a permanent solution to the root cause. It is a necessary step designed to control the immediate impacts of a problem, for example, to prevent ongoing errors or to ameliorate damage.

Appropriate techniques/charts 

Appropriate techniques/charts may include:

  • control charts
  • Pareto charts
  • run charts
  • flow charts
  • cause and effect diagrams
  • tree diagrams
  • 5 Whys analysis

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector

Competitive systems and practices

Custom Content Section

Not applicable.