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What is Corrective Action?


What is Corrective Action?

Taking appropriate corrective action after an incident ensures your workplace is safe, functional and enjoyable for employees.

No company is immune from accidents, misconduct, and other incidents in the workplace, and employees must understand that corrective action will be taken immediately if their manager witnesses such actions. However, the corrective actions you take in response to these occurrences, make the difference between a functional, enjoyable work culture and a toxic one. Below, we discuss what corrective actions are and how to implement them into your investigative strategy. 

Workplace investigative teams across multiple industries use Case IQ to streamline and automate casework. Download our free CAPA form template today to organize and document your corrective and preventive action strategy. 

What is a Corrective Action?

When an incident or "nonconformity" occurs in the workplace, management needs to take steps to fix it. A correction is a knee-jerk solution that immediately fixes a problem. For example, putting out a fire in the office is a correction. This action eliminates the problem.

Corrective actions, on the other hand, eliminate the root cause of the problem, preventing future issues. The corresponding corrective actions, then, address the root cause of the fire, such as fixing old wiring.

Think of corrective actions as improvements to your organization that you didn't know you needed until an incident occurs. They rectify systemic issues to make your workplace safer.

RELATED: Building an Effective CAPA Plan: Your 8-Step Guide

Corrective Action Examples

In the context of human resources, corrective actions focus on discipline. For instance, an employee who harassed a coworker may face warnings, suspension or termination. These actions aim to eliminate the cause of the harassment by reprimanding the harasser.

Accidents or security issues often require more tangible changes to the workplace, such as:

  • Installing alarms
  • Redesigning or replacing equipment
  • Recalibrating tools
  • Updating work processes
  • Retraining employees on policies and procedures

Say you work in a garment factory and a dyeing machine frequently leaves dye patches on products. You'd correct this by replacing the faulty machine. Or, you work in a restaurant kitchen and fail your health inspection. Corrective actions could include scheduling more regular cleanings or setting traps for pests.

Determining Corrective Actions

Deciding what actions to take after an incident should be a thoughtful process. While you need to act promptly, don't rush. Create your corrective action plan knowing that your solutions may not be permanent, but with the goal that they will be.

To determine appropriate corrective actions, investigate the incident's root cause(s). Then, decide which actions could reasonably eliminate the causes. Use this 8-step approach when a non-conformity occurs in your workplace:

corrective action

Credit: Beacon Quality

Don't forget to follow up after implementing your plan to ensure it's working. Make necessary changes to avoid similar nonconformities in the future. Most importantly, communicate the changes you've made to employees. This keeps them in the loop and shows your commitment to a healthy workplace culture.

After you've implemented corrective actions, decide on preventive actions and put them into place. These are steps taken to eliminate the root cause of potential issues. Learn more about preventive actions and how to use them after a nonconformity here.

Furthermore, a risk assessment can stop issues before they start, relieving the stress of creating corrective action plans. Before corrective actions are taken by your manager, use Case IQ’s free risk matrix template to identify gaps and threats in your workplace to reduce incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is corrective action for work?

Corrective action for work refers to the systematic process of addressing incidents or nonconformities in the workplace by identifying and eliminating their root causes to prevent future occurrences.

Is corrective action a write-up?

Corrective action is not necessarily a write-up; rather, it involves implementing measures to address the root cause of incidents in the workplace to prevent their recurrence. However, in some cases, corrective actions may involve disciplinary measures such as warnings or termination, which could be documented in a write-up.

How do you give an employee a corrective action?

To give an employee a corrective action, you should follow a structured process that involves investigating the incident, determining the root cause, deciding on appropriate actions to address it, communicating those actions clearly to the employee, implementing the plan, and following up to ensure effectiveness and prevent similar issues in the future.