Safetip #87: Corrective Actions That Address Root Causes
The Implementation of Corrective Actions Is the Last Step
OSHA’s “Incident [Accident] Investigations: A Guide for Employers” document helps organizations implement an incident investigation system composed of the following four steps:
1) Preserve/document the scene
2) Collect information
3) Determine root causes
4) Implement corrective actions
According to OSHA’s guidance document, an incident investigation should only be considered complete if corrective actions are implemented that address the root causes of the incident. The corrective actions must improve a safety program and be supported by senior management.
Corrective actions may be of limited value if they don’t address the root causes of the incident. Throughout the workplace, the findings and how they are presented will shape perceptions and subsequent corrective actions. In planning and implementing corrective actions, employers may find that some root causes will take time and perseverance to fix, OSHA says. However, persisting in implementing substantive corrective actions not only reduces the risk of future incidents but also improves a company’s safety, morale and bottom line.
Global Corrective Actions to Consider
Specific corrective actions address root causes directly. But some corrective actions can be general, across‐the‐board improvements to the workplace safety environment, OSHA says. The guidance document provides the following examples of global corrective actions:
- Strengthening/developing a written comprehensive safety and health management program
- Revising safety policies to clearly establish responsibility and accountability
- Revising purchasing and/or contracting policies to include safety considerations
- Changing safety inspection process to include line employees along with management representatives
Finally, consider the use of an action plan software to manage effectively corrective and preventive action (CAPA) plans triggered by incident investigations. The software can act as a central task management system that schedules and deploys actions, checks progress, alerts team members and makes sure that actions are completed on time.
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