( SOLAS Ch.II-1 Part C )
1 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its sixtieth session (6 to 10 April 1992), instructed the
Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) to consider engine control room design and
arrangements, in order to advance work on addressing the human element for the purpose of
preventing maritime casualties and pollution of the marine environment.
2 The Committee, at its sixty-eighth session (28 May to 6 June 1997), approved, in principle, the
draft Guidelines for engine-room layout, design and arrangement, as prepared by the DE
Sub-Committee, which provide recommendations for addressing the human/machine environment
in the engine-room. However, recognizing that the draft Guidelines contain fire protection issues
which might need further improvement, the Committee referred them to the Sub-Committee on
Fire Protection (FP) for finalization. The annexed Guidelines incorporate, therefore, the outcome of
the work of the FP Sub-Committee at its forty-second session.
3 Member Governments are invited to bring the Guidelines to the attention of ship designers,
shipowners, ship operators, shipping companies, shipmasters and engine-room staff for appropriate
Many studies have shown that, statistically, the engine-room is the most dangerous area on a
ship. An efficiently operated engine-room, with appropriately located controls for pumps, power
and propulsion, is also vital for co-ordinated emergency response. Therefore, it stands to reason
that a well-designed engine-room will be inherently safer and will consequently contribute to a
higher overall safety standard.
The purpose of these non-mandatory guidelines is to provide ship designers, ship owners, ship
operators, shipping companies, shipmasters and engine-room staff with information aiming at
enhancing engine-room safety and efficiency through design, layout and arrangement.
These guidelines are intended to improve engine room safety and efficiency and overall vessel
safety by facilitating good decision-making with regard to engine room layout, design and
arrangement. To accomplish this goal in the most efficient manner, these guidelines are focused on
the human-machine environment of the engine-room. The relevant factors used to describe the
human-machine environment are:
- occupational health;
- minimizing risk through layout and design; and
These guidelines are applicable to all ships to which chapter II-1, Part C, Machinery
installations, of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 74), as
amended, applies. These guidelines should also apply, as appropriate, to mobile offshore units
covered by the 1989 MODU Code and to high speed craft covered by the HSC Code. Not all of the
provisions of these guidelines will apply to all types of engine-rooms. The provisions of these
guidelines should be applied with consideration for the engine-room type -fully crewed, minimally
crewed, or unattended.
5.1 Relevant factors -Relevant factors are descriptors of a safety issue. In the case of these
guidelines, the relevant factors describe engine-room safety in terms of the human element aspects
that are affected by layout, design and arrangement
5.2 Engine room -For the purposes of these guidelines, the engine-room is considered to be a
space or spaces containing propelling machinery, boilers, oil fuel units, generators, and major
electrical machinery, and includes auxiliary machinery spaces, store rooms, workshops, machine
shops, the shaft alley, and the steering gear room.
5.3 Familiarity -This relevant factor addresses the relationship between engine-room safety and
efficiency and crew member familiarity with layout, equipment, systems, procedures, alarms, signs
and symbols. Maximizing crew member familiarity will result in fewer accidents due to errors in
reading instruments and mis-identifying equipment.
5.4 Occupational health -This relevant factor addresses the effect of engine-room environment
on crew member health and performance. Enhancing workplace comfort will result in fewer
accidents caused by psychological and physiological stresses.
5.5 Ergonomics -This relevant factor addresses the sensory connections between crew members
and engine-room equipment, controls, instruments and alarms and the typical needs of personnel
working in the engine-room. Considering personnel needs and designing human-machine
interfaces that recognize human capabilities will minimize accidents due to human limitations and
5.6 Survivability -This relevant factor addresses the crew's capability to survive an emergency in
the engine-room. Giving rational consideration to possible emergency conditions, the placement of
emergency equipment, and the routine duty stations of and typical routes taken by crew members,
will maximize the chances of crew survival.
5.7 Minimizing risk through design, layout and arrangement -This relevant factor addresses the
affects of physical configuration on engine-room safety. Creating an engine-room configuration
through a detailed, systems perspective will remove impediments to efficient engine room
operations and minimize the chance that an accident involving one piece of equipment will affect
the operability or performance of another piece of equipment.
6 Recommended procedures
Pipes should be colour-coded for identification of content and direction of flow. The
colour-coding should also differentiate between grades of fuel. The colour-coding and direction of
flow should be in accordance with recognized international standards such as ISO standard
14726-1, Ships and marine technology -Piping systems -Identification colours for content.
Electrical cables should be labelled with an identifying code using a durable tag which
should be affixed to the cables in accordance with the following convention:
- Tags should be affixed at the exit from the main switchboard, at the entrance and exit of
intermediate panel boards, at the entrance and exit of junction boxes, at the entrance and
exit of controllers and at the connection to the load.
- Circuit breakers in switchboards and panel boards should be identified by the written
name of the circuit and the circuit code.
- Tags for electrical cables should correspond with the relevant ship's drawings. Any
modifications of the ship's cabling should be reflected in revisions to the drawings.
The engine-room instrumentation and alarms required by the SOLAS Convention and other
IMO instruments should be designed and installed in accordance with the requirements of
resolution A.686(17) -Code on Alarms and Indicators, as amended. Classification Society
requirements should also be taken into consideration.
Valves located below the floor plates slould be fitted with indicators that are independent of
the valve controls and are discernible to crew members looking at the valve, to show whether the
valve is in the open or closed position. In cases where the possibility of direct manual operation is
required in addition to the remote control, means of observing the valve position and the valve
location are to be provided.
Items of machinery should be clearly identified to facilitate familiarization with their
location and function.
6.2 Occupational health
Engine-rooms should be designed to comply with resolution A.468(XII) -Code on Noise
Levels on Board Ships.
Engine-rooms should be designed to comply with ISO 8861, Engine-room ventilation in
diesel-engined ships -Design requirements and basis of calculations, and ISO 8862
-Air-conditioning and ventilation of machinery control-rooms on board ships -Design conditions
and basis of calculations. Due to the hazards to health caused by exposure to oil and inhalation of
oil mist, all practicable means should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure and special
consideration should be given to the installation, location and ventilation of equipment likely to
produce oil vapour and mist.
Enclosed control rooms, when provided, should be air conditioned to provide periodic relief
from high temperatures in engine-rooms as well as to optimize the performance of electrical and
electronic circuits. Other areas of engine rooms should be provided with heating or cooling
facilities, as necessary, to ensure the temperature does not adversely affect the performance of
personnel working in them during watchkeeping, maintenance or repairs.
Lighting should be adequate for the tasks of personnel working in engine rooms and
associated spaces. The minimum illumination levels should be determined by the Administration,
taking into account national or international standards recognized by it. In the absence of such
standards, the Administration should be guided by the table given below. Adequate lighting below
floor plates should also be considered.
|Guidance for minimum levels of illumination*|
|Control stations|| |
| Control consoles||32|
| Gauge and control boards||32|
|Generator and switchboard rooms||22|
|Shaft alley escape||3.2|
|Steering gear room||22|
| On top of work bench||54|
| On top of desks||54|
Machinery mountings in engine-rooms should be designed so as to minimize machinery
vibration and long-term effects of vibration on personnel working in the engine-room.
* Extracted from standard RP-12 of the Illuminating Engineering Society 0f North America.
6.3.1 Engine-room layout, design and arrangement should provide a work environment that
fosters effective procedures, work patterns, and personnel safety and health, and that minimizes
factors which degrade human performance or increase the potential for error.
6.3.2 To standardize engine-room consoles and panels, the layout, design and arrangement of
controls, instruments and alarms should take into consideration a recognized, international human
engineering standard with regard to, at least, placement, shape, display, labelling, complexity, and
control movement expectancy.
6.3.3 For shipboard spare parts, arrangements should be made, where practicable, for the
storage of spare parts and supplies contiguous to the machinery or equipment for which they are
6.3.4 For shipboard spare parts, an effective transportation and parts handling system should be
incorporated into the engine-room design. The transportation and parts handling system should be
designed to handle heavy machinery parts efficiently and safely and operate under the same
conditions of static list, rolling, and pitching as the main propulsion machinery.
6.3.5 Sufficient space around machinery should be ensured so that maintenance, repair and
housekeeping tasks can be performed efficiently with no unnecessary restrictions or risk of injury
from contact with hot surfaces or rotating machinery.
6.3.6 A noise-protected communication station should be installed in the general area that most
maintenance and watchkeeping activities take place, such as the engine-room lower level or pump
flat, and outside the control room, when a control room is provided.
6.3.7 The layout, design and arrangement of machinery and work areas in engine-rooms should
be such that the engine-room can be conveniently cleaned.
6.3.8 A supply of the tools necessary for expected tasks of personnel working in the
engine-room should be maintained in a location that minimizes the distance a loaded tool box is
likely to need transporting and, as much as possible, avoids the necessity of carrying tools up or
6.3.9 A supply of consumables, such as light bulbs, flashlights, batteries, aural protection,
protective goggles, disposable work clothes, gloves, rags, cups, logbooks, pens and pencils, should
be maintained in the engine-room for the use of personnel working in the engine-room.
6.3.10 Engine-rooms should be provided with the type of amenities typically required by the
personnel working in the engine-room during the course of their watch or duties, given the nature
of the ship and the voyage, such as a changing area and toilet facilities.
6.4 Minimizing risk through layout and design
Machinery and equipment in the engine-room should be designed to minimize or
eliminate the hazards inherent in rotating machinery, hot surfaces, and electric potential.
Machinery in the engine-room should be located with respect to one another in ways that
minimize the risk of multiple failures from a single accident.
- Consideration should be given to locating redundant machinery and equipment on
opposite sides of the engine-room while giving regard to the resulting proximity to the
controls, instrumentation and engine-room watch stations.
- Fire-fighting equipment, watertight door electric and hydraulic services and other vital
systems should be kept well clear of high risk machinery and equipment, such as
turbo-generators and main engines, to minimize the risk of fire or explosion involving
such machinery or equipment rendering the vital systems or equipment inoperative or
inaccessible to crew members responding to an emergency.
- Electrical panels, switchboards and other electrical equipment should be protected from
fluids by such means as splash guards or by separating pipes from electrical apparatus.
Consideration should be given to orienting machinery in order to minimize the dynamic
load on bearings due to ship motion.
A non-skid coating or covering should be provided for decks, platforms and ladder treads
to prevent slipping.
Tripping, falling and bumping hazards, such as the top and bottom of ladders, stanchions,
sills and low overheads, should be vividly marked to call their attention to personnel working in the
Engine-rooms should be provided with means for collecting and disposing of oil, paper,
rags and other wastes and with supplies for cIeaning to minimize the potential for fire and
Pipes and cables should be supported to resist vibration and dynamic loading due to ship
6.5.1 The life jackets and immersion suits carried for engine-room watchkeepers should be
located by the primary exit to the main deck from the engine-room or in another easily accessible
location. This location should be well known to each of the watchkeepers.
6.5.2 Escape routes should be well marked and provided with lighting of a type that facilitates
their use when visibility is reduced by smoke.
6.5.3 Emergency escape breathing devices (EEBDs) should be provided taking into account the
guidelines on EEBDs to be developed by the Organization.*
6.5.4 Portable fire-fighting equipment in the engine-room should be placed in locations that are
nearest to the machinery with the highest fire-risk, so that the equipment is readily available in the
event of a fire.
* Refer to Guidelines on the performance, location, use and care of emergency escape breathing devices (EEBDs)
developed by the FP Sub-Committee for approval by the Maritime Safety Committee at its sixty-ninth session (1.1 to
20 May 1998).