Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing

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Escaping Reactive World – Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing

By Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer, Great Systems

Click here to register for this course at the 2019 TapRooT® Summit on March 11-12, 2019

Why Do the Same Problems Keep Coming Back?

Errors happen daily. Fortunately, our work system safeguards usually prevent them from becoming product recalls, sentinel events, workplace fatalities, or environmental incidents. We do our best to help prevent these problems, but all too often, they keep coming back. Why are our fixes failing? Why can’t our people stop making mistakes in the first place?

Two key problems exist. First, our work systems are essentially designed to allow some amount of errors to both be produced and get through to the next process. These errors are produced daily, even though we may not measure them. We all too often blame the person, or worse, live with the problem instead of changing our work systems to drive behavior change.

EXPLORE MORE: The Psychology of Failing Fixes

Second, when problems do occur, we attempt to prevent them in the future with a weak set of improvement strategies. Some fixes are more effective at changing human behavior and minimizing risk than others. Some fixes work temporarily, but they are difficult to sustain over time. Fortunately, there are proven best practices that can be used to both identify, and fix, the systemic root causes of human error and equipment failure.

How Can I Escape Reactive World?

Three things have to happen in order to escape reactive world, and it is common for all three strategies to be in play at the same time. The first thing you have to do is start effectively analyzing and finding the true root causes for those process errors and defects that do occur. Since everything cannot be fixed at once, you will have to decide how to triage these problems from a risk mitigation perspective. More importantly, you will have to let go of the notion that human error is a root cause that can be easily fixed with reminders, warnings, and punishment.

Second, you will need to ensure that effective fixes are being sustained for the systemic problems your root cause analysis efforts are uncovering. This begins by making sure that effective fixes are being put in place in the first place. Overall value is lost as limited resources are used on weak improvements.

Lastly, you need to enhance your abilities to anticipate and safeguard potential causes of human error. Sustaining these strategies will help you will spend a smaller percentage of your time in reactive world as time progresses.

LEARN MORE: The Changing People Problem

How Can the Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing Workshop Help?

This workshop explores the common types of work process and safeguard design flaws that contribute to human error, including weak corrective actions. It gives you a coach and a practice field for learning to write more effective, and sustainable, corrective and preventive actions. Finally, this workshop gives you over 100 best practices you can use to more effectively, and proactively, ‘mistake proof’ your workplace by fixing key work process and tool design flaws.


Mistake Proofing / Corrective Action Writing Workshop Topic Areas:

  1. How to escape reactive world
  2. How adequate are your safeguards?
  3. The power of process-based error proofing
  4. How to measure safeguard effectiveness
  5. Developing more effective corrective actions – Practice #1
  6. Putting high impact fixes in place – Practice #2
  7. Best practices in mistake proofing
  8. Applying what you have learned


Mistake Proofing / Corrective Action Writing Workshop Objectives

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Use best practice approaches for error proofing job tasks of any type
  • Proactively identify, analyze, and anticipate opportunities for error in a systematic manner
  • Better utilize the 32 ‘Needs Improvement’ TapRooT® root causes through benchmarking and best practice exploration
  • Assess the relative strength of different corrective action options
  • Write effective corrective and preventive actions that add value and can be sustained over time
  • Capture and use process-level error rates as leading indicators of corrective action effectiveness


All ‘Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing’ workshop participants will receive a course workbook and a free copy of Kevin’s book, Error Proof – How to Stop Daily Goofs for Good. If you would like more information on this workshop, send Kevin an email at


Click here to register for this course at the 2019 TapRooT® Summit on March 11-12, 2019


Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer, Great Systems  

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By |2018-12-11T10:42:08+00:00November 30th, 2018|Corrective Action, Error Proofing, Process Improvement|Comments Off on Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing

About the Author:

Kevin McManus serves as Chief Excellence Officer for Great Systems! and as an international trainer for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process. During his 38 plus years in the business world, he has served as an Industrial Engineer, Training Manager, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality. He holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and a MBA. He has served as an Examiner and Senior Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Performance Excellence Award for eighteen years. Kevin also writes the monthly performance improvement column for Industrial and Systems Engineering magazine, and he has published a new book entitled “Vital Signs, Scorecards, and Goals – the Power of Meaningful Measurement."
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