If you work in oil and gas and have not heard of the Bow Tie Risk Assessment Model, you will. Bow ties have been around for at least 20 years, but have received widespread acceptance among oil and gas companies since the advent of the offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS ) rules. In its simplest form, the Bow Tie Model allows you to visual hazards and controls. it lays out:
- a loss of control leading to a catastrophic event (called the top event)
- the consequences of that event; and
- how you might prevent the top event or keep it from resulting in a catastrophe (called barriers).
The process can be much more complex and can be used to drive computer models on risk, but it is basically a way to see what you may be dealing with in managing safety.
As you might expect, the bow tie approach can be confusing and a lot of people only vaguely understand it. This video was produced by Baker Hughes and it is as simple and easy to understand as any explanation of the Bow Tie Method I have seen. It is worth a look because it is becoming a part of the fabric of safety management, at least in the offshore environment.