Bow-tie Analysis

Bow-tie diagrams are a simple and effective tool for communicating risk assessment results to employees at all levels.  The diagrams clearly display the links between the potential causes, preventative and mitigative controls and consequences of a major incident.  Bow-tie diagrams may be used to display the results of various types of risk assessments and are useful training aids.  Bow-tie diagrams may also be integrated with semi-quantitative analysis techniques such as Layers of Protections Analysis (LOPA) depending on the level of complexity required.  The general structure of a bow-tie diagram is represented in the diagram below.

R4Risk’s bow-tie analysis process can be effectively used to develop a risk-based platform for the ongoing management and prevention of major incidents. It delivers the following benefits:

  • Draws on the direct involvement and experience of facility personnel to identify hazards and to properly incorporate critical controls into management systems
  • Enables risk-based monitoring, auditing and review of critical risk controls
  • Raises awareness and improves understanding and knowledge among employees of the potential major incidents and the reliance on critical controls that prevent those accidents from occurring
  • Enables proper risk management to be demonstrated
  • Contributes to achieving legislative compliance.
Example bow-tie diagram, developed using Meercat RiskView.