bowties risk compliance

The use of ‘Bowties’ as part of stakeholder engagement and consultation for high-hazard installations

10:05 02 December in General

All high-hazard installations and respective organizations must show they are managing their hazards and risks accordingly. It is also a requirement to engage and consult with affected stakeholders, (both internal and external).  The engagement and consultation regarding potential Major Incident Hazards, (high consequence events), preventative and mitigating controls is a critical aspect of risk ownership and management.

For all affected stakeholders it is critical that the hazards, risks, mitigating controls and potential consequences are fully understood and managed accordingly.  This is common practice for a skilled and trained work force, however other stakeholders may not have such in-depth understanding of these processes and may have a more compressed induction and training program; for example, tanker drivers, delivery personnel, trade-assist workers etc.

It is difficult to educate various stakeholder types under one system and approach, however past experience has shown that including this additional process can incorporate most if not all affected stakeholders, as part of engagement and consultation in managing risks on site.

Selecting a system and approach for the administrative and educational aspect of managing hazards and risks, a Safety Assessment complemented by ‘Bowtie’ diagrams are shown to be invaluable if applied correctly. Bowtie diagrams can be extended to include Layer Of Protection Analysis (LOPA).  When including LOPA, the Probability of Failure rate on Demand (PFD) risk reduction values are assigned to each control. Through this process, the reliance, interdependence, and safety critical identification of controls are easily identified and able to be communicated in a visual method to all types of stakeholders.

Using Bowties as an education tool has proven extremely valuable in the New Zealand LPG sector and chemical storage process facilities.  Previously Bowties were developed as part of the Safety Assessment, but were not tailored to be used as an educational tool.  At times up-to three different systems were developed in order to engage and consult with all types of stakeholders regarding hazards and risks on site – now this has been streamlined to one approach (including tailored Bowties). The results till date are showing continuous improvement and have significantly cut down in administrative overheads, training, hap-hazard induction processes and managing MOC processes.


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