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 a top event happening, and consequences may 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.