Looking to Integrate 9001+14001+27001+45001+50001? Click here!

Definitions for:

  • Correction – Action to eliminate a detected nonconformity
  • Corrective action – Action to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity
  • Preventive action – Action to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity


When a problem occurs, you need to keep several aspects in mind.

  • Determine the magnitude of the problem.
  • Determine how to prevent it from getting bigger.
  • How to address current situation.

You could call this “Damage Control” and although correction takes steps to correct the problem it has no bearing on cause.

Corrective Action:

Now determine if the importance of the situation requires further action:

  • Was it a big deal?
  • What’s the chance it will happen again?
  • Estimate of any future threat.

The causes need to be looked into to prevent recurrence if it was a big deal.

Preventive Action:

First, you need to assess the risk and mitigate it based on severity. Information and tools from the Carnegie Mellon University source can be useful.

In ISO management systems, the concept of preventive action is expressed through a risk-based approach where risks are determined and actions to address opportunities and risks are taken – (see also OH&S Risk analysis).

Difference between:

  • Correction & Corrective Action –
    • HIGH risk/impact/frequency
      • Correction fixes the CURRENT set of issues
      • Corrective action prevents it from happening again by looking at causes
    • LOW risk/impact actions are similar since likelihood of recurrence is low.

Simple Example to demonstrate the differences

A customer orders 500 parts, but only 450 are delivered.

  • Correction – Fix the current issue –
    • Get the customer 50 more parts.
  • Corrective Action – Why were we short?
    • Operator miscounted 9 boxes of 50 as 10 boxes of 50.
  • Preventive Action / Address risk and opportunity.
    • Weigh products on a scale so you know if the quantity is met.



Our All-in-One Certification Package is a proven, efficient system. It gives you all you need to prepare for registration – in one simple to use package.

Customer Review:

"I have just passed my Audit with zero non-conformances for the second year in a row using your ISO products. Thank you for producing documents of this quality"

Bettye Patrick

United Plating, Inc

Buy the Standard

45001 Store Logo  ISO 45001:2018