UK MCA updates the Code of Safe Working Practices (Amendment 6, October 2021)


( The Code of Safe Working Practices (COSWP) provides guidance on improving health and safety on board vessels and articulates how statutory obligations should be fulfilled. The Code details the regulatory framework for health and safety on board ship, safety management and statutory duties underlying the advice in the Code and the areas that should be covered when introducing a new recruit to the safety procedures on board.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has updated the code, and below you can find the latest version as of today: Amendment 6, October 2021.

Key features

Amendment 6 includes the following updates:

ChapterTitle / Paragraph Number

(old reference if altered)

Reason for 2021 Amendment2021 Amendment

Title / Paragraph Number

Chapter 3 – Living On Board3.6 Avoiding the effects of fatigueFollowing the outcome recommendation of MAIB report Seatruck Progress


MGN 638 Human Element Guidance – Distraction: Mobile Phones and Personal Devices was developed. This amendment adds some from MGN 638.


3.6.3 Preventing fatigue inclusion of reference to using electronic devices


New Section

3.15 Mobile Phones and Other Personal Electronic Devices

Chapter 4 – Emergency Drills and Procedures4.1.7






4.4 Abandon Ship Drills








4.9 Action in the event of a dangerous space emergency

MSN 1722 (M+F) Guidelines for Crews for the Purpose of Launching Lifeboats and Rescue Boats from Ships making Headway through the Water.

- Incorporation of relevant content









Stakeholder comment on consultation

4.1.7 Added wording.

4.2.8 Amended wording.

4.2.9 Added new final sentence.

4.4.10, 4.4.11, 4.4.12 & 4.4.13 Insertion of new sections.

New annex 4.2 Precautions to be taken when carrying out launching drills

4.9.2 Added wording.

Chapter 11 – Safe Movement on Board Ship11.6 Guarding of





11.10 Entry into dangerous (enclosed spaces)




11.12 Adverse weather

MCA adoption of YDSA equivalence proposal for small commercial vessels : 1m guardrail height


Stakeholder comment on consultation





Stakeholder comment on consultation


11.6.4 Insertion of new paragraph.




11.10.2 reference to Chapter 15.1.5 & 15.1.6 added – identifying dangerous spaces


11.12.3 Added new final sentence.

Chapter 12 – Noise, Vibration and Other Physical Agents12.9 Noise arising from music and entertainmentAmended to reflect Health and Safety Executive (HSE) current policy and resources.12.9.1 Amended wording.
Chapter 14 – Permit to Work Systems



Annex 14.1.1 Permits to work entry into dangerous (enclosed) spacesStakeholder comment on consultation, amendments increase clarity on procedures.Annex 14.1.1 Annex review and updated.
Chapter 15 – Entering Dangerous (Enclosed) Spaces15.8 Safety precautions before entry

15.11 Additional requirements for entry into a space where the atmosphere is suspect or known to be unsafe

15.13 Breathing apparatus and resuscitation equipment

Stakeholder comment on consultation, amendments ensure increased clarity on entry procedures.15.8.10 Added new section.


15.11.1 Removed wording.



15.13.1 Added new section.

Chapter 17 – Work At Height17.1 Introduction

17.2 General

Annex 17.1 Emergency planning for work at height

Amendment alignment with HSE guidance and as outlined within MGN 410 Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Work at Height) Regulations 201017.1.1 Added wording.

17.2.1 Wording removed.

17.2.2 Added wording and new final sentence.

17.2.6 Added new final sentence.

Annex 17.1 Amended wording to point 5.

Chapter 18 – Provision, Care and Use of Work Equipment18.28 Ropes and wires


IMO Circ 1620 Guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines18.28 Section review with new wording and updated guidance.
Chapter 19 – Lifting Equipment and Operations19.4 Thorough examination and inspectionClarification of the examination period for lifting equipment. Reference to HSE’s “Thorough Examination of Lifting Equipment (INDG422)”.19.4.2 Added wording and review of bullet points.

New Table 2 – Inservice examination periods

Chapter 20 – Work on Machinery and Power Systems20.7 Auxiliary machinery and equipment






20.17 Storage batteries: general


20.23 Valves and semi-conductor devices




MSN 852 Using diesel engine-starting aids with flammable mixtures – outdated notice for withdrawal but with more current information on battery safety added.


Review of COSWP section to incorporate current guidance.


Stakeholder comment on consultation


MSN 646 Toxic Substances in Electronic Devices – outdated notice for withdrawal.

Review of COSWP section to incorporate updated guidance.




20.7.7 New section.







20.17.5 & 20.17.6 Added new sections.


20.23.3 Section reviewed and split with 20.23.4



Remaining section number sequence altered

Chapter 26 – Anchoring, Mooring and Towing Operations26.1 Introduction


26.2 Anchoring and weighing anchor





26.3 Making fast and casting off


26.6 Safe Mooring of domestic passenger craft and ships’ launches at quays






Review of COSWP Chapter and sections to incorporate current guidance.









Advice concerning keeping clear of any area that could be reached by mooring equipment or ropes.


Stakeholder comment on consultation


MGN 648 COSWP Self Mooring Operations. Notice to be incorporated into the next COSWP amendment then withdrawn.


26.1.3 Added wording.

26.2.1 Added references to current industry guidance and best practice.

26.2.6 Added wording.

26.3.7 Added wording.


26.6.4 Added wording



26.6.7 & 26.6.8 Added new sections


New Section

26.7 Self Mooring Operations


Annex 26.3 – Added new annex: Examples of mooring arrangements



Click on the below image to download the full latest version of the MCA COSWP:

Source: UK MCA


[Total: 2]