Nonconformity and Corrective Action
10.2 What is a nonconformity?
A nonconformity is any failure to meet a requirement. A requirement can be that of a customer’s statutory or regulatory body. When a nonconformity occurs, you must respond by either controlling and correcting it or dealing with the consequences. When this happens, you must determine the root cause(s), evaluate the need to eliminate the cause(s), so nonconformity does not reoccur and implement and corrective action needed. A corrective action is the action taken to prevent recurrence of a nonconformity.
Finding a nonconformity can be extremely disappointing, especially when your company was well prepared for the audit. Although it is best to prevent nonconformities during the transition between ISO 14001:2008 and ISO 14001: 2008, oftentimes during an audit a nonconformity is identified, and it is important to understand how to successfully correct and prevent recurrence is most important. Despite the possible frustration of dealing with nonconformities, it is important to remember that correction and prevention are necessary steps of the continual improvement that is the base of ISO 14001 standard.
When you find nonconformities in your organization, it is good practice to use your established corrective action procedure to ensure that you treat each one in the correct manner to determine the root cause analysis (RCA) despite if the nonconformity is minor or major.
Clause 10.2 of the 14001:2015 standard specifies how to deal with nonconformity and corrective action, and documenting any changes that may occur in your EMS due to repairing nonconformity falls firmly into that category. Using these guidelines will help you document, demonstrate continuous improvement, satisfy the auditor and also attain the important ISO certificate.