ECFA Analysis [Video] – How To Challenge Incorrect Advice, Guidance and Training

ECFA (Events and Causal Factors Analysis)

Following on from the recent videos posts that I have out regarding Covid-19 and Restraint Risk Assessment, as well as the other posts I’ve done with Trevel Henry on this issue, I thought I’d share this video with you.

This is an analysis model I’ve used many times when doing things like writing risk assessments for my clients, challenging incorrect advice and guidance given, producing expert witness reports for court, etc.

In this video I’ve used the example of a child being allowed to leave a care home because staff have been given incorrect advice that they cannot stop a child leaving, which has ultimately placed the child at risk of harm.

In this current situation the same processes can be applied with regards to any information being given to staff who may have to physically intervene and control and restrain someone else as well as the use (or ‘opinionated’ prohibited use) of appropriate restraint equipment (handcuffs, softcuffs, soft restraint belts, Safety Pods, etc.,).

Systematic and Causal Factors

Systematic and Causal factors are referred to in ECFA as ‘conditions’ and are normally recorded above and below the relevant primary and secondary sequence of events.

This is normally usual to differentiate between ‘Systematic’ and ‘Causal’ contributory factors as follows.

Systematic = System Failings

Systematic is when the ‘system’ used is at fault resulting in reduced safety overall.

For example, there is no formal safe system of working or safe working practices in place, risk assessments have not been undertaken for hazardous activities and staff are generally left to their own ‘common sense’ to ‘get on with it’ as part of the job.

Causal = Incorrect Advice 

A ‘Causal’ factor is when failings take place due, in this case for example, advice been given on the use of physical force by someone not competent in their knowledge base in that area.

This can be due to systematic failings in an organisation where (for example) people in certain ‘positions of authority’ are expected to advise without proper competent guidance or training, or where the person has decided to act outside of the scope of their employed role by advising on issues that they are not competent in but think that they know best.

And all that ends up doing is making the organisation liable for their incorrect/illegitimate advice should a harm occur that could have been prevented had the correct advice, guidance and training been given.

This is why having a competent understanding of how to do risk assessment is so important, and that is why risk assessments (in case you hadn’t figured it out) are at the core of our business activity and training needs analysis.

And as many competent expert witnesses and lawyers will tell you, in a civil claim for damages, the failure to provide a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, done by a suitably qualified or competent person, is normally all it takes for a claimants claim to succeed.

NFPS Level 3 Risk Assessment Course

And if you would like to find out more about our NFPS Level 3 Risk Assessment Award Course, that covers areas such as staff safety and violence at work, then check out the course here –

It’s only available by request at the moment, but I will be making it available by general release soon, so if you are interested, please leave a comment in the comment box below or email me directly at [email protected] telling me that you are interested.

Now please stay safe out there!

Best Regards

Mark Dawes