Your personal COVID-19 risk bowtie

Preventive and response measures each of us can implement to manage COVID-19 threats are summarised in the header image above. (NB This chart is offered to illustrate use of the risk bowtie risk management tool, and readers are urged to always follow up-to-date local public health guidance). This is a follow up to my post Strategy and Risk: 2 sides of one coin, in which risk bowties were previously mentioned.

Commercial organisations (with deeper pockets than most non-profit entities) often use risk management software to assist them in analysing, assessing and controlling risks. One such software solution is offered by CGE Risk Management Solutions (NB. the author has no referral relationship with this company or their products), and they have kindly offered COVID risk bowties for adaptation by employers seeking to manage this risk in their workplaces, and wherever else their employees are working.

The chart in the header image is my adaptation of the CGE risk bowtie for an employee infected with the COVID-19 virus. My use of a more spatial presentation style seeks to highlight the way preventive measures should be seen as barriers to block a threat from becoming a hazardous event. The ‘lines of defence’ are also emphasised, showing the array as a set of escalating controls. Likewise, the response measures after exposure to the virus are shown as escalating controls, to mitigate the damage of infection both for the infected person, and for others around them.

This personal risk bowtie emphasises each individual’s responsibility to prevent infection – of themselves and others. To manage COVID risk in your organisation, a different chart would be required (e.g. like those offered by CGE and others), in which workplace controls and internal accountabilities would be highlighted.

There are many more levels of detail offered by commercial risk management software providers, including classification of the various types of controls that can be deployed to prevent exposure, and to limit the impact in the event an exposure has occurred. For deeper insights into how you could use risk bowties in your non-profit organisation, have a look at the CGE Knowledge Base (even if you can’t afford the software).

Editorial Note: Following reader feedback on the original chart used in the header image, and the development of vaccines which are now being deployed in many jurisdictions, an updated chart has replaced the original version (as at January 2021).

2 thoughts on “Your personal COVID-19 risk bowtie

  1. I recently received an anonymous comment that this post failed to highlight healthy lifestyle and optimising of the immune system as a first line of defence, and that this invalidated the entire chart. I take the point that healthy lifestyle (especially diet and exercise) is important and should be considered. The chart was offered to illustrate various lines of defence and response, and to broadly reflect both prudent risk management and public health guidance. I acknowledge that the chart was incomplete (as most schematics are), however I do not consider this concession invalidates the post.

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