We developed and implemented a soap and water cleaning system to replace our solvent method. I guess it could be continuous improvement but we really didn't need to improve the old system. We did it to prevent issues down the road. Ergonomics is a good place for prevention too. When reviewing systems internally, changes made to prevent injuries or environmental accidents are often generated. Development of an informational newsletter shared with employees and the community could be prevention too. Problem with prevention is you can never illustrate success because to be a prevention it can't have ever been a problem (if it was, it would be a corrective action - not a prevention). How then do you know if the prevention worked or if it was never going to happen anyway? Best thing to do is look at all your continuous improvement projects and allocate some of them to prevention. Also if you use information from a corrective action and apply it to a situation which had no problem before, that could be a prevention.
Preventive action can and is any number of things...
Have a good equipment inspection and maintenance program.
Have a good awareness and response program for potential chemical spills or releases (here in the states we call it HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response), and you can find it at www.osha.gov.
Initiate a recycling program, an energy control program, a hazardous materials management program, the list can go on from here.
The main thing to do is educate the workforce and MANAGEMENT of whatever programs you put into place.
Aside from the above you can get into engineering issues like the control of storm water runoff, your drain/sewage system, managing stack emissions, scrap management/minimization, electrical power distribution, waste water management, and other things along these lines.
What you can do is boundless. be sure to document and show improvment.
I believe my mind wasn't engaged when I gave the answer above to your question.
Looking back I think you might be refering to clause 4.5.2.
The 1st thing you need to do for Preventive Action of non-conformancies is inform every employee of their responsibilities to identify and perform corrective actions. This includes the reporting of suspected non-conformancies of operations and precedures.
Next you need to perform analysis of whatever environmental indicators you have in place to determine the possibility of a non-conformance to whatever you have specified. Remember "Preventive Action" is based upon the analysis of data.
Make sure your documentation reflects changes in procedures that are Preventive in nature and that employees have been made aware of procedural changes.
Thank you very much for your ideas. Now, we are implementing the activity called “Corrective Action Impact”
The concept is to issue information about NC of some area from both internal audit result and external information (other branches oversea). At first we issued Preventive Action Request to each area that may have potential of those problem, but very difficult for them to think about how to prevent things that actually not happen. So, we change just to keep informing them about NC in other area, which we hope that they might consider and try to implement some prevention activity.
Anyway, all of your comment, we will take to discuss within the team.
I believe 4.5.2 deals solely with system nonconformances. For instance if you didn't do EMS audits as precribed in the standard, how do you prevent that from happening again?
To extend preventive action to operations activities may be a good thing to do, but I would suggest separating system nonconformances from operating problems (note different wording). I'm not suggesting that operating problems shouldn't be prevented, but trying to do that without considering the system root is confusing and ultimately futile.
Internal auditing, hazard spotting and risk analysis are the best ways of generating preventive actions. Score the issues with a risk analysis/FMEA approach, pareto them, improve them, then do it again. Have a documented plan to go through this exercise every 4-6 months and show that the improvements have reduce the risk scores.