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ComplianceJanuary 12, 2023

How the benefits of bowties extend beyond your safety department

The bowtie methodology is more than a risk assessment tool used by safety departments. It brings benefits to the rest of the organization also.

The bowtie methodology is a powerful tool for safety professionals to visualize hazards and risks. With bowties, you can identify and address areas of weaknesses, thus preventing incidents.

But there is more to a bowtie than meets the eye. 

Bowties are an element of safety management. But it’s a mistake to see it as a tool that only HSE experts can use. There are benefits also for the rest of the organization. Let’s look at three of them.

1) Establishing a common language of risk

If you want to take care of a problem, it helps if everyone talks about the problem the same way! Many issues fail to be addressed because of communication barriers.

Effective communication of information on risks, hazards, and controls is a vital part of the risk management process.

Bowties allow you to communicate risk across the organization through a common language. All employees, regardless of work group, department, or process, see the same visual representation of risks and barriers. This greatly increases risk awareness across the company because a picture is worth a thousand words.

To learn more, check out our article on four tips for effective risk communication.

2) Consolidating data from all departments

An important benefit of bowties is that you can assess and view the health of your barriers. As a result of weak barriers, risks can materialize into incidents. However, to determine the health of barriers, you need data from other departments, including operations, maintenance, engineering, HR, legal, etc.

Our BowTieXP software allows you to collect and consolidate data from multiple, different sources about the current state of barriers. This produces an accurate and updated status of the health of your barriers on bowtie diagrams. It also helps you to monitor the progress or maturity of your compliance objectives.

3) Helping workers capture incident details

After an incident happens, crucial details must be captured from those who were at the scene and witnessed the event. But people forget information quickly. Therefore, you must capture information from incident witnesses as soon as possible in a structured way.

With the Enablon Bowtie Suite, you can guide employees through the process of recording information on incidents with a barrier-based approach. Users don’t require a deep understanding of bowties or barrier-based incident analysis. They simply answer questions about specific barriers and whether they worked as intended. This critical information plays a big part in the incident investigation to determine root causes.

The bowtie methodology is more than a risk assessment tool used by safety departments. It brings benefits to the rest of the organization also. To learn more, visit our webpages on the bowtie method and the BowTieXP Enterprise solution, and reach out to us at [email protected] for any questions.

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