Preventive action VS Corrective action

Preventive action VS Corrective action
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Preventive action VS Corrective action, knowing and understanding both types of actions is fundamental in occupational health and any hazard and incident investigation process, report an incident and identify the root cause. Correction, however, is an action taken to MITIGATE THE EFFECTS of a deviation. That is, it is what we do to fix the consequences of the deviation. 

Corrective action is taken to prevPreventive action VS Corrective action is the RECURRENCE of a deviation, while preventive action is taken to prevent the OCCURRENCE. Therefore, corrective action is what we do when faced with a problem so that we do not have it again in the future. It is a reactive action, once the undesirable situation has been detected.

In preventive action, however, the problem has not yet occurred, but with tools such as risk assessment, we can foresee what could happen if mitigation actions are not taken. Therefore, they are actions that are taken proactively, before the undesirable situation has been detected, so that it does not occur. 

In both cases, it is essential to correctly identify the root cause. If we do not find the source of the problem, corrective or preventive action will not be effective. Classic examples of corrective actions are reviewing and updating procedures and training staff (to reduce probability) or incorporating new review steps into the process (to increase detection).

Preventive action VS Corrective action
Preventive action VS Corrective action

Therefore, the actions that we take from a deviation will never be preventive, since they are carried out either to mitigate the effects of the deviation (correction) or to avoid its repetition (corrective action). Preventive measure VS Corrective action

That said, when we are faced with a case of non-compliance, which can occur for various reasons, we can take three different actions: Let us then analyze the difference between correction, preventive action and corrective action. 

  1. Correction – Used to eliminate an identified nonconformity. Also known as immediate actions. It is possible to correct together with corrective action, an example of this would be a rectification or a reclassification. 
  2. Corrective Action – Used to eliminate the root cause of an identified nonconformity or any other undesirable situation. In addition, it prevents the recurrence of the problem.
  3. Preventive Action – This action is taken to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity, as well as another potentially unwanted situation

The main difference between these last two actions is that corrective action is taken to prevent the problem from recurring, while preventive action is taken to prevent that potential problem from occurring. In other words, preventive action is intended to prevent potential problems, which are foreseen, from occurring. That is, the problem has not materialized yet but it could happen any day. 

What is an example of corrective action?

Corrective action: the root cause that originated the problem is investigated and the action that prevents its recurrence is implemented. Perhaps a testing process will be created that uses barcodes, replacing an error-prone system such as the use of handwritten labels. 

Corrective action in case of non-conformity

An example of nonconformity that can be addressed through corrective action is repetitive issues, such as unauthorized document changes and product defects. These issues are known to cost manufacturers and produce waste, especially when they cause frequent replay. The non-conformity and the corrective action involved have to be documented by certain international standards such as ISO 9001:2015.

Preventive action VS Corrective action
Preventive action VS Corrective action

A corrective action report may include these particular requirements. In addition, the corrective action report form includes detailed sections that help you gather process information and guide you in finding the root cause of the problem. This can serve as a deciding factor for corrective action that can prevent the recurrence of the problem.

What is an example of preventive action?

Preventive Action: To avoid mix-ups on similar parts in other cases and for other customers, methodologies such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) can be used. With them, it would be possible to detect similar cases and implement actions before any confusion occurs. action VS CorrectivPreventive e action

Preventive action VS Corrective action
Preventive action VS Corrective action

Preventive action in the workplace

It cannot be stressed enough that workplace safety is important, regardless of whether it is a construction site or an office.  Managers and supervisors can take preventative actions like a toolbox talk that can eliminate or reduce risks and prevent problems from occurring. Sharing within the team a toolbox talk form that enables proper record keeping and ensures all safety issues are addressed. 

Difference between corrective action and preventive action with examples

Regarding the differences between correction and corrective action, the most important difference is that the correction only fixes the nonconformity, while the corrective action works on the root cause of the problem and prevents it from happening again

The difference between preventive and corrective action is that corrective is aimed at preventing the recurrence of current problems such as nonconformity, while preventive is aimed at preventing potential problems from occurring altogether by eliminating the root cause. 

A preventive action aims to avoid a potential problem. Unlike corrective actions, which fix the root cause of a current problem, preventive actions try to address problems before they occur, that is, they try to eliminate the cause of a problem that has not yet occurred.

In other words, while corrective action is an action taken to address or correct the problem that caused an incident and return to normal, preventive action is used to minimize or eliminate incidents before they happen. 

Risks evaluation.

Any risk assessment must include the identification of workplace hazards, so once the root cause of a past problem or an incident that may occur in the future has been identified, possible preventive actions need to be established and discussed. With the prevention team. Next, you have to evaluate the pros and cons of each corrective and preventive action and identify the best solutions. Therefore, a risk assessment will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Identify the hazards.
  2. Decide who can be harmed and how.
  3. Evaluate the risks and take the necessary solutions.
  4. Record the results and apply them.
  5. Review the evaluation and update it.

Design an action plan.

Once the best actions to be taken have been identified, the next step is to design an action plan. This plan needs to include a list of tasks for your application with an associated timetable stating when each task will be implemented, as well as who is

Training and risk prevention programs.

When it comes to preventing incidents, employees must be aware of the actions and decisions they must take in the event of danger and, at the same time, know how to avoid possible accidents. Making employees aware of prevention reports and preventive action plans and providing training programs for employees to prevent occupational risks are good ways to avoid future problems. 

Corrective and preventive action template form

A corrective and preventive action (CAPA) report form is best used when the situation requires both correcting and preventing problems. The CAPA is used for serious noncompliance as recommended by the FDA. In addition, failure to take corrective action is considered a major nonconformity.

Preventive action VS Corrective action
Preventive action VS Corrective action

This example of a CAPA reporting form ensures that your facility meets the requirements of regulatory bodies like the FDA and remains in compliance with other industry standards like ISO 9001:2015. The report contains sections to be filled out by the investigator. It collects information such as deficiencies identified, the response to deficiencies and the CAPA plan

  • Corrective Action: action taken to eliminate the cause of a DETECTED nonconformity or undesirable situation. 
  • Preventive Action: action taken to eliminate the cause of a POTENTIAL nonconformity or undesirable situation. 


IssueBrief description of the problem
Root causeThe reason
Corrective action
Preventive action

Sample of corrective and preventive action report

The manager must define and implement all corrective or preventive actions, to manage real or potential non-conformities. The actions may be derived from, among others, the following activities: 

  • Results of inspections and observation of tasks. 
  • Investigation of incidents and accidents at work. 
  • Internal and external audits. 
  • Employee suggestions. 
  • High management review. 
  • Changes in procedures.
  • Changes in working methods.

The foregoing must contemplate a methodology that allows the elimination of the root cause. The company must ensure that it documents and supports the action plan that has been defined for the corrective or preventive actions, in addition to verifying that they have been effective. 

Preventive Action – The action that is taken to eliminate or mitigate the causes of a potential nonconformity or other potential situation that is undesirable.

Corrective Action – The action is taken to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation.   The analysis of the causes can be carried out with the methodology that the organization wants to adopt according to the agreement that exists with the needs of the organization, the most used are:

  • Cause-effect diagram.
  • Five whys theory.

The manager must guarantee that the necessary preventive and corrective actions are defined and implemented, based on the results of the supervision and measurement of the efficiency of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System, the audits and management review. These actions must be oriented towards:

  • Identify and analyze all the fundamental causes of non-conformities based on the provisions of this chapter and the other provisions that regulate all aspects of the General System of Occupational Risks.
  • The adoption, planning, application, verification of the efficiency and documentation of preventive and corrective measures.

Corrective and preventive action plan example

When all the prevention and protection measures that are related to the dangers are not adequate or effective, they must be submitted to evaluation or prioritization without delay. All preventive and corrective actions must be documented, disseminated at relevant levels, and have persons responsible and compliance dates.

Investigation of incidents, accidents and illnesses

  • Identify and document the deficiencies of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System, which should support the implementation of preventive, corrective or continuous improvement actions.
  • The results obtained by the workers that are directly related to the causes or controls must be reported, so that they can actively participate in the development of preventive, corrective and improvement actions.
  • Senior management must be informed of work absenteeism due to incidents, accidents and work-related illnesses.
  • Feed the review process carried out by senior management of occupational health and safety management, in addition to considering continuous improvement actions.

Investigation steps

  • Identify problems
  • Determine scope
  • Investigate data
  • Determine immediate and root cause
  • Decide corrective and preventive actions

Possible root cause

  • Training
  • Documentation
  • Maintenance

Root cause analysis

5 ‘Y’ or 5 ‘W’


  1. Corrective Action: It is the action taken to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation.
  2. Preventive Action: It is an action taken to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity or any other potentially undesirable situation.
  3. Audit: It is a systematic, independent and documented process to obtain audit evidence. They should be objectively evaluated to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are met.
  4. Health hazard: An adverse condition arises, which may be physical or mental, and is made worse by work activity.
  5. Document: Information and means of support. The support medium can be paper, electronic, photographs, etc.
  6. Risk evaluation: An assessment of the risks that arise should be carried out taking into account the existing controls. It must be decided whether or not the risk is acceptable.
  7. Identifying hazard: It is a process by which it is recognized that a hazard exists and its characteristics are defined.
  8. Incident: The events that are related to the work in which harm occurs or may occur. An accident that has resulted in injury, ill health, or a fatality. It can refer to an incident in which there has been no damage, deterioration or accident is called a near miss.
  9. Continuous improvement: It is a recurring process of optimizing the occupational health and safety management system to achieve improvements during performance. It should always be consistent with the organization’s policy.
  10. Organization: Company, corporation, firm, company, authority or institution. Whether public or private.
  11. Hazard: Source, situation or act with the potential to cause harm in terms of human harm or deterioration of health.
  12. Non-conformity: Failure to comply with a requirement.
  13. Risk: The combination of the probability that a hazardous event or exposure will occur and the severity of the harm or ill health that the event or exposure may cause.
  14. Acceptable risk: It is the risk that has been reduced to a level that can be tolerated by the company taking into account all legal obligations and its own OSH policy.
  15. Record: It is the document that presents the results obtained. Provide evidence of the activities performed.

Health and safety topics

  1. What are the biological agents?
  2. What is health surveillance at work?

Preventive action VS Corrective action

Preventive action VS Corrective action

Preventive action VS Corrective action

Preventive action VS Corrective action

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