Corrective Action

Learn QHSE / Quality Management / What is Corrective Action

What is corrective action? 

Corrective action refers to a plan, put in place by you, that aims to fix something that has gone wrong (particularly a non-conformance). Therefore preventing the chance of a non-conformance reoccurring is key to a good corrective action. The aim always is for continual improvement throughout your organisation with constant establishments of good corrective actions. 


How to use Corrective Action

Corrective actions can be used by you when responding to non-conformities. This could be unacceptable levels of product (or service) problems, internal auditing issues, customer complaints and/or emergencies within your organisation.

The typical steps are:

  1. Clearly identify the non-conformity (documenting is a good idea).
  2. Contain the issue. This is where you analyse the rest of the department or system to ensure that no similar non-conformity exist. 
  3. Next, review what the effects of this non-conformity. If they are serious your corrective action needs to reflect that.
  4. Determine the causes of the non-conformity (hopefully the root cause).
  5. Now it's time to determine the corrective actions that will address the causes of the non-conformity
  6. Implement the actions.
  7. After a period of time review to check if the actions are effective.

It is very important that the corrective action get reviewed (step 7) to check whether it is effective or not. There is no point implementing a corrective action if the results of the non-conformity are as they were.

It is critical too to not let corrective action turn into a bureaucratic procedure throughout your organisation. You need to monitor this carefully. If the process is cumbersome or bloated then it won't get used.  Work hard to implement an efficient and effective corrective action system 


Benefits of corrective action 

  • Reduce the chances of non-conformances happening again
  • Keeping the documentation of the corrective action will be useful if there are similar non-conformances that occur in your different departments or processes
  • Ability to prove to auditors that you are addressing the non-conformances by showing the documentation of the corrective action
  • Assures the employees of your organisation that you are proactive about the management systems
  • Shows that you are driven toward an improvement mindset, which will drive some employees to have the same mindset
  • Ability to easily validate the effectiveness of the action taken. This will only be beneficial if follow-ups are done to see if the action was successful


Corrective action tools: 

  • CAPA (Corrective Action/Preventive Action)

Learn More: