Safetip #87: Corrective Actions That Address Root Causes

July 12, 2017

This week’s Safetip is about incident investigations and completing an investigation by implementing corrective actions that address the root causes of the incident.

The Implementation of Corrective Actions Is the Last Step

OSHA’s “Incident 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.

Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a new Safetip!

View the recording of our webinar with TapRooT® to learn how you can enable a human factors-based incident investigation lifecycle, and how the integration of Enablon and TapRooT® facilitates the tasks of incident investigators: