Can You Visualise Your Risks?

 

Assess, manage and communicate your key hazards and risks effectively and graphically using BowTie diagrams. Simple and user-friendly barrier-based BowTie analysis, development, validation and maintenance services for all industry sectors and most applications. Contact Safety Engineering Solutions today to find out how we can assist.

About BowTies

 

The purpose Bowties is to identify and communicate the major hazards, and their respective controls and mitigations, in order to ensure that risks are managed to a level that is tolerable. This is a much more effective way to communicate than simple text. Bowties are useful in any industry, job, activity, etc.  We use the powerful BowTie XP software

Bowtie analysis is used to display a risk showing a range of possible causes (threats) and consequences. It is used when the situation does not warrant the complexity of a full fault tree analysis (FTA) or when the focus is more on ensuring that there is a barrier or control for each failure pathway. It is useful where there are clear, independent pathways leading to failure.

The Bowtie methodology is used for risk assessment, risk management and (importantly) risk communication. The method is designed to give a better overview of the situation in which certain risks are present, to help people understand the relationship between the risks and organizational events.

 

The strength of the methodology lies in its simplicity. Bowtie analysis is a simple diagrammatic way of describing and analysing the pathways of a risk from causes to consequences. It can be considered to be a combination of the thinking of a fault tree analysing the cause of an event (represented by the knot of a bow tie) and an event tree analysing the consequences. However, the focus of the bowtie is on the barriers between the causes and the risk, and the risk and consequences.

 

Bowtie diagrams can be constructed starting from fault and event trees, but are more often drawn directly from a brainstorming session.

 

Bowtie analysis can also be used in layer of protection analysis (LOPA). The LOPA plugin in Bowtie XP allows such assessments to be carried out easily.

Call Safety Engineering Solutions today to discuss how Bowties can help your organisation manage risk.

Contact Safety Engineering Solutions today to find out more.

BowTie Example - Hazards of Walking on Stairs

 

Bowties are highly flexible and the level of information to display can be adapted to suit, starting with a high level overview. The diagrams can be made as simple or as complex as required. Typically, the diagrams are printed on A3 size paper, but some clients demand more complex bowties which may be printed on up to A0 size paper.

As you can see in example to the right, developed by Safety Engineering Solutions for one client, only the threats (blue boxes on left hand side) and potential consequences (red boxes on right hand side along with risk score) are displayed. The boxes can be expanded (individually, or completely) within the software by clicking on the + sign on each box. This level of information can easily be displayed on A4 size paper.

The level of information can be expanded - the example below shows the grouping of barrier types providing protection and mitigation for the threats. 

The different barrier groups types can be colour-coded for ease of differentiation. The number of individual barriers in each group is indicated. The diagram starts to build a picture of strength of depth with barriers of different types, as part of a 'hierarchy of controls'. This example is legible on A3 size paper.

The level of information can be fully expanded - the example below shows all the individual barriers providing protection and mitigation for the threats. Departments or individuals can be assigned as barrier-custodians.

With the detailed view, it is possible to see which threats have suitable and sufficient barriers, which may have limited barriers and the effectiveness of each barrier (with colour coding applied). This can be used as a "health-check" of key hazards and risk as part of the Safety Management System.

LOPA BowTie Example 

 

Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) is a useful technique in the Process Industries to analyse Process Safety risks. Typically, this is done using a spreadsheet or specialist software (e.g. PHA Pro, LOPA Works, etc.) These tools are fit-for-purpose, but it is actually quite hard to see which barriers are actually protecting against which initiating cause. The LOPA Bowtie solves this problem and the software contains all the necessary initiating event frequencies, failure probabilities and  tolerable event frequencies. BowtieXP can be used as the recording tool or to complement (summarise) the spreadsheet-based findings. See the example below developed by Safety Engineering Solution's Functional Safety Engineer, Alastair Millard. Follow the link to find out more about our SIL / LOPA Facilitation services.

In this example, the LOPA Bowtie shows that there are sufficient barriers such that no additional risk reduction is required to render the consequences tolerable. The different barrier types are colour-coded; those barriers that are not effective against the initiating event can be colour-coded separately to distinguish them. The different barrier types can also be displayed.

BowTie Service Offering

 

Industries & Sectors

 

  • All industries and sectors including private sector, public sector, government and not-for-profit

 

Example Applications

Process Safety

  • Safety Case / COMAH Safety Report (ALARP demonstration)

  • Safety Critical Element (SCE) Health Check

  • HAZID

  • SIMOPS (drilling, construction, turnarounds)

  • SIL / LOPA

  • Emergency Response Planning

  • Risk Register

  • PSM auditing

  • Incident management

 

Occupational Safety & Health

  • Workplace risk assessment

  • Office safety

  • Personal safety

  • Driving

  • Auditing

 

Environmental

  • Environmental Management

  • Pollution Prevention and Control

  • Environmental Critical Elements (ECE)

  • Incident management

 

Projects

  • Risk Register

 

Business / Asset Risk

  • Financial risk

  • Business continuity

 

Quality Control / Quality Assurance

  • Defect analysis and diagnostics

  • Incident management

Security

  • Asset protection

  • Cyber security

  • Anti-Terrorism

  • Air travel

  • Personal safety

  • Incident management

The Next Steps

 

  • A Professional Process Safety Engineer will review your existing risk profile and risk assessments and develop the necessary BowTie diagrams to give you the insight and control you need

  • The process can start from a blank sheet of paper (full assessment of risks), or existing text-based risk assessments can be readily incorporated into BowTies . You will be amazed at the immediate improvement in how you see your risks.

  • The development process can be either workshop or desk-top based - either approach can be valid.

  • Once the Bowties are developed, they are reviewed by you

  • The BowTies are intended to be live tool and kept updated in line with any changing risks or barrier effectiveness; Safety Engineering Solutions can manage the maintenance of the Bowties for you on an ongoing basis.

  • You may wish to purchase a software license (if you don't already have one) to enable the Bowties to be viewed and maintained. We can discuss the various options with you.

  • Safety Engineering Solutions has a global reach. Please contact us today to discuss.

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