The starting point for a bowtie is the top event, which is the point at which an organisation has lost control of the hazard. Causes lead to top event occurring, and consequences potentially result from the top event. When laid out in a diagram, these form the shape of a bowtie.
Risk controls are identified, to prevent the progression, either by preventing the top event from occurring, or by limiting the consequences. Escalation factors may weaken the controls.