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The term, barrier management, is used in bow tie analysis to describe the process of ensuring that the safeguards an organization intends and expects to have in place are capable of preventing losses, properly implemented, in service (not disabled or bypassed), and supported and maintained such that they function as expected when needed.

Barrier management makes the common reliance on implicit barriers explicit, provides clarity on which ones are relied upon to prevent incidents, documents their important characteristics, specifies requirements for functionality throughout their lifetime, provides continuous monitoring of their status, and ensures their performance is not degraded. A written performance standard provides the basis for managing each barrier.

Why Manage Barriers?

Process safety incidents often involve the failure of safeguards, misplaced reliance on safeguards that were assumed to be functional but without verification, or the unrecognized degradation of safeguards. These situations arise for various reasons including operational or commercial pressures, dependence on humans who easily forget, and complacency. This emphasizes the need for better management of safeguards.

A barrier management program is used to ensure the performance standards for barriers are met for both engineered and human barriers. The program must cover each barrier at a facility. It is used to monitor and measure performance. Leading indicators are used to detect degradation in performance.

Barrier management should be part of a safety management system. Typically, engineered barriers are managed in an asset integrity (mechanical integrity) program. Historically, human barriers have not been managed rigorously and much more attention needs to be paid to them.

Why Primatech?

  • Primatech’s reputation for high quality work extends to developing Barrier Management programs. We use the same high-quality approaches we employ for other types of process safety program development projects.

  • Primatech offers a training course on the use of Bow Tie Analysis and Barrier Management for process safety, delivered both publicly and privately at client facilities.

  • Primatech pioneers the development and improvement of approaches for performing process safety project work. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and continuously update our approaches and techniques to conduct project work efficiently and effectively.

Services Offered

  • Development of a Barrier Management Program 

    Primatech consultants can help your facility develop a Barrier Management Program, tailored to your needs.

  • Facilitation of Bow Tie Analysis 

    Our facilitators will lead a team of individuals from your site in the construction of bow tie diagrams that depict how prevention and mitigation barriers and controls protect against threats at your facility. These bow tie diagrams provide the basis for developing a Barrier Management program. We provide a written report of the results of the analysis.

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