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Risk analysis entails systematic identification of undesired events and assessment of risk levels. That means identification of existing risks, an assessment of how serious these risks are and prioritization of what risks need to be addressed first. This is visualized in a risk matrix. For the risks that you have identified the highest probability/impact, you can go on with a more in-depth analysis by creating a bow tie diagram.
Bow tie is a well-established method for risk analysis that is used in the oil and gas industry since many years. Due to the generic nature of the method, its ease of use and its visual attractiveness, the method has spread to a number of different industries and application areas.
The Bow tie method can be applied to practically all types of risks. As an example, let’s look at the diagram below that shows how the spread of the Coronavirus can affect an organization. The dark blue box in the middle represents the hazard, in this case the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which describes the circumstances of the danger. The orange circle represents the unwanted event you prefer will not take place in your organization, in this example it means that an employee contracts COVID-19. (Click on image to enlarge)
The leftmost boxes in the diagram (light blue) represent potential causes of the unwanted event occurring. To the right of each cause we see a series of preventive barriers that are intended to prevent that the corresponding cause leads to the unwanted event taking place, e.g. measures put in place to avoid the undesirable. On the farthest right of the diagram we see possible consequences (the red boxes) of the unwanted event occurring. To the left of each consequence we see a number of mitigating barriers that are designed to mitigate or limit the impact of the corresponding consequence. Altogether, we have a clear visual representation that provides a comprehensive picture of a complex situation with high information density.
To facilitate the risk analysis a number of pre-created templates are available in Bowtie360. The templates are meant to provide support when producing bow tie diagrams for specific areas in the organization.
By using a number of representative scenarios as a starting point, the templates show what a typical bow tie diagram looks like. The templates are comprehensive risk analyses for different situations with complete descriptions of all components included in a bow tie analysis: risks, events, causes, consequences and barriers.
Thanks to the templates you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time, you save a lot of time by taking a shortcut to a higher level in your risk management.
The templates contain what is needed to manage the different risks. Since the templates represent best practice, they can also be used as a point of reference when assessing if your own organization has adequate risk mitigating measures in place. They can also be used as guidance when setting up a new system or when performing significant changes to an existing system.
With minimal changes the templates represent comprehensive risk analyses for a number of common situations. With a few clicks you can produce risk analyses ready for submission to regulatory authorities or other stakeholders. Since the templates are editable you can build your own library of templates that you can share with your colleagues.
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