Fill It Up

A practical activity where two teams work together to complete a task that involves processing 8 cylinders of gas. During this activity the teams will analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the barriers in the process using bow-tie analysis and consider how human factors issues will be managed during the process. The decisions they make will impact what occurs during the task and they will have to resolve the issues that occur. The team to process the 8 cylinders in the quickest time wins!

The Basics

  • Groups between 8 to 12.
  • Aimed at any group that complete high-hazard tasks where understanding risks, barriers and human factors issues is important.
  • Takes 2 hours.


  • Each team will compete to complete a computer game, which involves processing 8 cylinders of phosgene gas, in the quickest time.
  • The team will analyse the task using bowtie analysis. In particular, they will consider how the barriers that prevent a release of gas can be weakened (e.g. through a lack of maintenance or training) and the actions they can take to strengthen each barrier. See the recent white paper on human factors in barrier management for more info.
  • Each team will make decisions on the safeguards they will invest in and this will impact the timed game in different ways. The team will have to problem solve and interpret the feedback they get during the task.

Aims & Objectives

  • Introduces the delegates to human factors in barrier management
  • Emphasises the need to consider all the impacts of changes made to the process
  • Illustrates the importance of maintaining barriers and how they can be weakened.
  • Gives an understanding of what makes for good human barrier elements.
  • Identifies the need for dynamic risk assessment & problem solving under pressure.