Threat Consequence (Bow-tie) Diagrams

Information Sheet

This information sheet explains how threat-consequence or bow-tie diagrams can be used for visual risk analysis. Bow tie diagrams describe the pathways of a risk from its cause to its consequence and illustrate the barriers in place to reduce the risk (ISO/IEC 31010, 2009). The strength of bow-tie diagrams is that it goes beyond the usual risk assessment ‘snapshot’ and highlights the links between the threat, its consequences, the barriers preventing the consequence from occurring and the strengths of these barriers. In its full application it can be used to demonstrate the linkages between the barriers and the underlying management system. The highly visual nature of the diagrams are well-suited to communicating risk issues to non-specialists.

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