WorkPlace Cornerstone

About The Phoenix RCA Method

The Phoenix Method is a business-oriented, consequence-focused, significance-driven investigation process successfully applied for over 20 years in organizations and industries with a strong desire to avoid repeating mistakes and to prevent serious accidents or events from recurring.  The Phoenix Method, developed and implemented by Dr. William Corcoran, may be utilized to evaluate any event for which the adverse consequences can be defined - "if the pain is describable, the Phoenix Method is applicable."  

The Phoenix Method selectively applies a variety of analytical tools to address the “eight questions for insight” . . . . . . .

  1. What were the event consequences?
  2. What was the event significance?
  3. What made the organization vulnerable to the event?
  4. What transformed the vulnerability into a consequential event?
  5. What made the event as bad as it was?
  6. What kept the event from being a lot worse?
  7. What should the organization learn from the event?
  8. What should be done in response to the event?


Phoenix-derived corrective actions, if conscientiously implemented, significantly reduce both the frequency of future similar events and the severity of future event consequences.

The Method has been used to analyze the causes of accidents and substandard results in the following applications and environments:

Personnel, Organizational, & Programmatic Applications

Injuries/ Fatalities

Transuranic Bio-uptake

Radiation Over-Exposure

Organizational/ Programmatic Failures

Process Failures

Regulatory Compliance Failures

Regulatory Enforcement Issues

Management Issues within Commercial Organizations

Substandard Project Performance

Procurement Errors & Weaknesses


Hardware and Physical Applications

Physical Equipment Failures (Structural; mechanical; electrical)

Physical System Breakdowns

Facility Re-start Performance Issues

Site Remediation Breakdowns

Diesel Generator Malfunction

Diesel Pump Operational Failures


Environments in Which Phoenix has been Applied


Natural Gas

Offshore Oil Platforms

Government Agencies

Electrical Distribution

Fossil Electrical Generation

Nuclear Electrical Generation

Chemical Processing




Finance and Accounting


For additional information regarding the Phoenix Method, contact the following individuals:


Michael D. Quinn, Sc.D.

Office: (860) 295-0603

Cell: (860) 463-0413


Richard Swanson, P.E.

Office: (269) 428-7447

Cell: (773) 230-8989






Both Dr. Quinn and Mr. Swanson are licensed to provide training on the Phoenix Method of
event investigation.