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Using Corrective & Preventative Actions to Keep Your Company Safe

Contributor: Toby Graham, mindlessly KPA

Imagine having a process to catch issues before they become problems – keeping your business efficient, your people happy, and your money in your pocket. That’s the premise behind Corrective and Preventive Actions (or CAPA for short). CAPAs are systemic improvements to an organization’s processes designed to fix recurring safety issues. Want to learn how to use them in your organization? Well, read on…

What’s the Difference Between Corrective and Preventive Actions?

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Corrective actions are intended to stop current issues from recurring.

When a workplace incident occurs, or an inspection uncovers a safety hazard, the tasks required to remedy the issue are called corrective actions. Training is often considered a corrective action as well. For instance, if there is an accident involving a forklift, the safety manager may require all operators to take or re-take forklift safety training.

Preventive Actions


Preventive actions are designed to prevent risks from happening in the first place.

Not all safety management tasks are reactive measures to correct existing safety risks. A safety manager taking preventive actions seeks to prevent risks from arising in the first place.

How Do You Determine Which Corrective and Preventive Actions to Take?

The answer lies in your safety program data – your reporting will point the way.

Monitoring for Preventive Actions

Here are three reports to keep on top of to help determine your highest priorities for preventive actions:

Near Miss Reports

Start with Near Miss Reports. Use them to reduce potential incidents by keeping a careful record of all close calls reported to management. By tracking near misses, safety leaders can proactively prevent them from recurring, potentially resulting in more severe injuries. Organizations with a Near Miss policy and a system to capture and report them are taking the proper steps to identify and control hazards, reduce risk and prevent harmful incidents.

Training Reports

Training Reports are an equally crucial leading indicator. Proper training can prevent many serious workplace injuries. And pockets of employees who haven’t completed their safety training are red flags for mishaps in the future. Gain a holistic view of your company’s training completion rates using training reports, then follow up with the laggards who may be putting themselves at risk by not completing required training.

Job Safety Analysis

Another way to capture leading indicators is a Job Safety Analysis (or JSA for short). JSA is a reporting tool used to identify and control potential hazards associated with jobs, procedures, environments, or processes. JSA’s are an exercise in detective work to help answer questions like “What could go wrong?” and “What are the consequences?” By tracking via JSA, you can stay aware of safety concerns, inform your policies, and eliminate hazards that lead to serious accidents.

Monitoring for Corrective Actions

Use your data and analytics tools to take account of long-term trends and evaluate the past performance of your safety procedures. Lagging indicators can help inform what improvements you can make to your future policies.

Incident Reports

Reporting can help you analyze your team’s incident management in terms of preparedness, response, and recording. Incident Management analytics give you a firm understanding of your current procedures and how to improve them.


OSHA reporting and workplace safety data go hand-in-hand. OSHA gathers safety data from companies through three main forms: OSHA Form 301, OSHA Form 300, and OSHA 300A.

Developing Your Process for Taking Preventive or Corrective Actions

Corrective and preventive actions are designed to improve employee behavior or process performance. And there are a few steps to develop and put your actions in place.

1. Identify the problem

A pretty obvious first step, but an important one. Can you pinpoint what is currently happening and compare it to what, in theory, should be happening? Being specific in this phase helps get to a root cause and corrective action faster.

2. Quantify the problem

Is it bigger than a breadbox? How extensive is the scope of this problem? Does it only happen on certain days or shifts? Does it impact the entire company or just one department?

3. Contain the problem

Take steps to stop the problem now while investigating how to fix the root cause. Remember that this is a stop-gap solution and may not catch the problem again while investigating that root cause.

4. Identify the root cause

What is the underlying issue that’s causing the problem? There are a few strategies safety professionals use to uncover the underlying issue. The five why’s or fishbone diagram are two common strategies.

5. Address the root cause

Now that you’ve uncovered the cause of the problem, what’s your plan for eliminating it? Besides laying out your tactics, your plan should include topics like timing, people involved, estimated costs and ROI, and approval processes. Lastly, you’ll want to include a plan for monitoring to ensure that the tactics put in place remedy the problem.

6. Execute your plan

Put your plan into action. Since your plan already identifies the who, the what, and the when, the process should be straightforward.

7. Monitor your fix

Check-in periodically to ensure the problem is no longer occurring or that your fix hasn’t introduced new issues.

CAPAs Contribute to a Strong Safety Culture

One of the best ways to help ensure CAPAs are documented and acted upon is to encourage your entire workforce to participate. Giving your workforce the tools and training they need to report hazards improves the odds that actions will be effective. Why? Because workers know more about their job tasks and associated safety risks than anyone else.

How KPA Helps Manage Corrective and Preventive Actions

KPA’s software platform provides tools, reporting, and training to help you implement effective corrective and preventive actions. With a custom form builder, create inspection checklists, JSAs, health screening forms, incident severity reports, and equipment evaluation forms that are all tailored to the needs of your business.

Assign safety training and track completions so you are certain your employees are fully up to speed on relevant safety topics, including those recommended by OSHA. You can also customize KPA training content or upload and manage your own training in the integrated learning management system.

With KPA’s powerful reporting capabilities, use data insights to identify actionable next steps to resolve safety issues and what retraining can be enforced to prevent future accidents.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.