Definition Correction, Corrective Action and Preventive Action - Definition of terms

K

karha096

#1
Through the years I have come across a lot of different views on the following terms:
- Correction
- Corrective action
- Preventive action

Since this is a global forum I thought it could be interesting to discuss these terms here.

This is how I have always used the words myself:
- CORRECTION is an action that serves to fix the actual and immediate problem. If a device has broken, the typical correction would be to repair or replace that device. If an internal audit spots an untrained temporary employee, the correction would likely be to train that specific employee.
- CORRECTIVE ACTION is an action that serves to prevent the problem from happening again. If a device broke because of a design flaw, the typical corrective action would be to adjust the design. It could also involve recalling functional devices from the market to either replace or adjust them (to prevent the problem from recurring). It could also involve things like internal training, changes in quality control procedures to handle the actual root cause of the problem.
- PREVENTIVE ACTION is pretty much the same thing as a corrective action, but term is used for actions taken as a precaution, to prevent a potential problem from happening. Say for example that an engineer spots a design flaw that could cause a malfunction under odd conditions or a team identifies the need for a safety feature to handle a previously overlooked series of events that could potentially harm a patient.

But like I said, I have seen other ways of using these terms and it would be interesting to see what you have to say. :)
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
For your consideration to start off:

Corrective Action vs. Correction: Definitions - http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=41952

Correction vs. Corrective Action vs. Preventive Action - http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=31821

Corrective and Preventive Action definitions - ISO 9001 vs. ISO 14001 - http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=2360

Preventive Action - Definition - How does YOUR organization define PA? - http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=28342

Also see:

Correction

Corrective action

Preventive Action

Preventative Action
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#3
One of the best definitions of the differences between corrective action and preventive action is that corrective action is incident control, that is what you do when a negative incident takes place to clean it up and to keep it from happening again.

Preventive action, that is what you do to a POTENTIAL problem to keep it from happening, is risk management.

And this definition helps to lead into one of the changes to the upcoming 2015 version of ISO 9001. The term preventive action goes away and is replace with risk management. To put it in better context, it is also moved to an earlier part of standard the with planning.
 
Last edited:
P

PaulJSmith

#4
I have long worked under the premise of:
Correction is something obvious and simple that can be fixed immediately.
Corrective Action is more systemic in nature and required a more in-depth investigation.
Preventive Action is something that can be fixed before it becomes or causes a problem.

You can keep it simple, or you can blur the lines. It all depends on how much you like to argue, really.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Through the years I have come across a lot of different views on the following terms:
- Correction
- Corrective action
- Preventive action

Since this is a global forum I thought it could be interesting to discuss these terms here.

This is how I have always used the words myself:
- CORRECTION is an action that serves to fix the actual and immediate problem. If a device has broken, the typical correction would be to repair or replace that device. If an internal audit spots an untrained temporary employee, the correction would likely be to train that specific employee.
- CORRECTIVE ACTION is an action that serves to stop the problem from happening again. If a device broke because of a design flaw, the typical corrective action would be to adjust the design. It could also involve recalling functional devices from the market to either replace or adjust them (to prevent the problem from recurring). It could also involve things like internal training, changes in quality control procedures to handle the actual root cause of the problem.
- PREVENTIVE ACTION is pretty much the same thing as a corrective action, but term is used for actions taken as a precaution, to prevent a potential problem from happening. Say for example that an engineer spots a design flaw that could cause a malfunction under odd conditions or a team identifies the need for a safety feature to handle a previously overlooked series of events that could potentially harm a patient.

But like I said, I have seen other ways of using these terms and it would be interesting to see what you have to say. :)
karha,

I agree with your definitions.

But swap "stop" for "prevent" in your definition of corrective action.

That stops further confusion.

John
 
K

karha096

#6
Thank you for your answers. I guess my definition is more or less in sync with the community.

It was interesting to learn that preventive action has been removed from iso 9001. I wonder if that change will make the final version of 13485 when it comes out...

The actual reason I asked this question was that I am implementing a tool for handling non-conformities and I wanted to see if the terms as I use them are generally accepted. What is your take on that?... outside the realm of ISO 9001/13485 I mean? Do people typically use the same definition of these terms? (I noticed in one of the threads provided by Marc that CMMI has a different view on these terms.)
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#7
I don not find the same definitions outside of ISO 9001 based systems. That is part of why people have a hard time becoming accustomed to this way of using them. There is a constant tendency to believe that preventive action is how you finish up a corrective action. That is to say that they confuse what you do to prevent recurrence is preventive action. They seem to believe that no other "preventive action" is needed.

I foresee problems with the wording in the new version, at least as shown in the DIS draft. Because the wording for corrective action says "prevent recurrence and occurrence", some webinare instructors are already saying that corrective action and preventive action have been combined. That would be in opposition to Nigel Croft's statement that risk considerations replace preventive action. Nigel is the chairman of TC-176, the committee that writes ISO 9001.

My take on the inclusion of both recurrence and occurrence is so that you completely pursue the extent of the problem, including other related products or processes that may be involved.
 

QA-Man

Involved In Discussions
#8
I combined them years ago.

  • I use Corrective Action as the immediate correction to contain or fix the immediate problem.
  • I use Preventive Action as the activities to prevent recurrence of the problem (if no problem has occurred then there is no Corrective Action and the Preventive Action prevents the problem)
  • I don't use Correction.

I don't think this is necessarily correct but it has been easier to get buy-inn from non-Quality people and it has never been cited during an audit or inspection.
 
K

karha096

#9
I agree with you QA-man. I Think the main cause of confusion is that from a linguistic perspective correction is pretty much the same term as corrective action. The distinction does not come natural.

In my nonconformity database, I am considering the following terms with clarifications included:

"Immediate action (correction)"
"Corrective action (prevent recurrance)"
"Preventive action (prevent occurrance)"
 

QA-Man

Involved In Discussions
#10
I agree with you QA-man. I Think the main cause of confusion is that from a linguistic perspective correction is pretty much the same term as corrective action. The distinction does not come natural."
Couldn't agree with you more. I attached a copy of our CAPA procedure and form. You'll see it is very basic and is built around the more intuitive understanding of corrective action and preventive action. It is made with non-Quality people in mind.
 

Attachments

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