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Course Description

Bow tie analysis (BTA) provides a visually intuitive and readily understood depiction of the causes and consequences of incidents that is easy for non-experts to understand. BTA identifies barriers for the prevention and mitigation of incident pathways. It maps the threats that may lead to a hazardous event and its undesired consequences in a diagram that looks like a bow tie. BTA supports process hazard analysis (PHA) studies such as HAZOP.

Bow tie diagrams have multiple uses. They provide a powerful communication tool to show the hazards and the safeguards that protect against them to stakeholders who may not have a strong technical background, such as front-line personnel and managers. Bow tie diagrams help in identifying safety critical equipment and tasks with links to asset integrity programs and competency and training requirements. Also, they are a useful aid in incident investigation.

This course teaches participants how to construct bow tie diagrams for processes. Detailed guidelines are provided to help ensure attendees construct bow tie diagrams correctly. Many examples and checklists are provided. Attendees practice the material taught through exercises and workshops. A detailed course manual is provided for use during and after the course.

You will learn:

  • Meaning of bow ties
  • Bow tie terminology 
  • Benefits of bow ties 
  • Uses of bow ties
  • Pros and cons of bow ties
  • Potential pitfalls of bow ties
  • Relationship between bow ties and risk and safety analysis
  • How to record the elements of a bow tie diagram  
    • Hazard
    • Top event
    • Threats
    • Consequences
    • Barriers
    • Degradation factors and controls
  • How to address human and organizational factors in bow tie analysis
  • Preparation tasks needed for bow tie analysis   
    • Development of project charter 
    • Choice of bow tie analysis method
    • Selection of analysis level 
    • Collection of reference data needed 
    • Selection of a study team
    • Selection of a method for recording the study 
  • Procedure for constructing bow tie diagrams
  • How to address issues in constructing bow tie diagrams 
  • How to use multi-level and chained bow ties 
  • How to develop a barrier management program 


Be able to construct bow tie diagrams and use them for a variety of purposes including barrier management.

Target Audience

Personnel responsible for identifying and managing the hazards of industrial facilities.


Knowledge of hazard analysis is valuable.

Course Contents

  • Overview
  • Bow tie elements
  • Human and organizational factors in bow tie analysis
  • Preparation for bow tie analysis 
  • Bow tie analysis procedure 
  • Advanced bow ties
  • Uses of bow ties
  • Barrier management

Duration / Credits

  • Two days
  • 1.4 CEUs or 14 PDHs awarded

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