Bowties – A picture tells a thousand ‘worts’

Guest Blog by David Hatch

Also the brewing and distilling industry must cover and control hazards in order to avoid unwanted consequences. In this blog David Hatch (Process Safety Analyst at Process Safety Integrity) gives a brief introduction to a recent article on barrier based risk management that was published in the Brewer and Distiller International Magazine.

Brewing and distilling

No – this isn’t a typo, wort is the liquid extract from mashed grain and contains the sugars which are fermented to form beer or whisky/whiskey. Rum, vodka, tequila, brandy and other spirits, as well as wine, are derived from similar sugary liquids extract from their respective raw materials.

These originally agricultural or artisan practices have become large scale industrial processes which involve a number of quality critical steps to ensure that the products meet strict specifications. In competitive markets, producers cannot afford the bad press (social media) associated with product recall (for an example, click here) or the lost revenue when, for example, high speed bottling lines fail.

Complex and risky business

Risk in its simplest form is the effect of uncertainty on objectives and that uncertainty is just the cost of doing business – a necessary ‘evil’ that must be managed to achieve the required goals. The complexity and scale of multiple products across multiple sites, countries and regulatory jurisdictions is an ever-present challenge to be (and stay) productive and profitable.

Even on a single facility, communicating the legal obligations and commercial expectations within the business can be a significant task to ensure duty-holders, budget-holders and stake-holders are aligned from the board-room to the control-room.

Naturally our primary concerns are for personnel safety and environmental protection and although brewing and distilling are certainly less hazardous than hydrocarbon and chemical processes, there is always the potential for injury from occupational safety threats and the rare, but nevertheless real, risk of fatality from process safety incidents, for example due to a loss of containment of hazardous materials associated with utilities (click here for an example).

Barrier based risk management

Bowties offer a simple but effective visual representation of the potential Safety, Environmental, Asset (repair or replacement of equipment), Production, Quality and Reputational impacts that a business has to manage. These diagrams provided a clarity and consistency that makes risk understandable (at all levels) and therefore easier to monitor and manage. Risk management is underpinned by barriers which are organisational and technical measures to prevent undesired events or to mitigate their effects.

Bowties can help companies effectively capture their threats and communicate the criticality and effectiveness of the barriers that provide the necessary resistance and resilience to sustain compliant and commercial operations.

To help understand how BowTieXP and other applications can help you to know, show and grow the effectiveness of your barriers, we invite you to read the full article by David Hatch. Fill in the below form to download this article published in IBD‘s Brewer and Distiller International Magazine.


For more information on the benefits of barrier based risk management, please contact Process Safety Integrity or CGE Risk Management Solutions. Or meet us at the BevExpo 2018 on January 23-24, 2018.


Leave A Comment