Improving pallet mover safety in the manufacturing industry: A bow-tie analysis of accident scenarios

Karolien van Nunen*, Paul Swuste, Genserik Reniers, Nicola Paltrinieri, Olga Aneziris, Koen Ponnet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


A Belgian manufacturing company uses pallet movers for internal transport. Despite the company's efforts to improve occupational safety, accidents with pallet movers remain noteworthy. In order to control occupational accidents, it is crucial to have a clear view of the potential accident scenarios that are present in a company. The bow-tie method is a way to capture and visualize these accident processes in an integrative way. Included in the bow-tie are safety barriers (both technical as organizational and human) and management delivery systems that can intervene in these accident processes. Once bow-ties are composed, they are an excellent point of departure to assign indicators to the safety barriers and management delivery systems in order to control (i.e., prevent or mitigate) accident scenarios. Two types of indicators can be distinguished. Firstly, there are general indicators that are assigned to management delivery systems interrupting multiple accident scenarios, which can yield a higher safety gain (as they intervene in multiple accident scenarios). Secondly, there are scenario-specific indicators targeting one specific accident scenario, which can be valuable as they target a specific problem in the company. For the development of the bow-ties, a multi-method design with the inclusion of different data sources was used, leading to a comprehensive overview. This makes the bow-tie analysis of internal transport with pallet movers transferable to other settings where pallet movers are used for internal transport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1955
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Accident analysis
  • Bow-tie analysis
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Pallet mover accidents
  • Safety barriers


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