MCA releases guidance and clarifications on Means of Access onboard ships through MGN 533 amendment 2

Published on: 01 September 2022


The MCA has released MGN 533 (M) Amendment 2 means of access.

This notice outlines measures that shipowners and employers are expected to take in order to provide a safe means of access on UK ships.

Providing safe access to a ship is considered to be an integral part of ensuring a safe working environment on board, as required by the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997, regulation 5(2)(e).

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) considers that compliance with this notice will generally demonstrate that the shipowner or employer has done what is reasonably practicable to comply with the duty to ensure a safe working environment aboard ship. Where alternative measures are taken to provide safe means of access, the shipowner or employer will be expected to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the MCA that these alternative measures provide at least an equivalent level of safety in the operating conditions concerned.

If the measures in this notice are not complied with, and no measures which MCA agrees are equivalent are in place, MCA will take enforcement action under the merchant shipping and fishing vessels (health and safety at work) regulations 1997.

Amendment 2 updates references and industry best practice in carrying out risk assessments.

MGN 533 amendment 2 can be downloaded here – MGN 533 (M) Amendment 2 means of access – GOV.UK (


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