EM 385-1-1 Overhaul: Unveiling the Changes

EM 385-1-1 Overhaul: Unveiling the Changes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is implementing a significant overhaul of their safety manual, EM 385-1-1, titled Safety and Occupational Health Requirements.  This revision, taking effect March 15, 2024, signifies a major step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of those working on USACE projects. Read on to learn about the major changes and how it affects EM 385 online training. 

A Completely Revamped Manual

The most striking aspect of the new EM 385 is its complete overhaul. Gone is the old 34-chapter structure, with the new manual boasting a reorganized layout with 37 chapters. This may seem overwhelming at first, but USACE has implemented a standardized format across all chapters. Each chapter now follows a consistent 10-section structure, making it easier to navigate specific topics like references, training requirements, inspection protocols, and required plans.

Focus on Program Management and New Specialty Chapters

In the earlier version of the manual, there was only one chapter dedicated to program management. Acknowledging the intricacies of this topic, USACE has now divided this section into two separate chapters. One chapter is designed for program management by USACE personnel, and the other is tailored specifically for contractors. This more focused approach ensures that both parties comprehend their distinct responsibilities in upholding a secure work environment. 

Furthermore, the new manual introduces three entirely new chapters:

  • Chapter 23 - Rope Access: This section delves into the safety protocols and training requirements for personnel working with rope access systems.

  • Chapter 33 - Uncrewed Aircraft (Drones): As drone technology continues to evolve, USACE has established guidelines for safe and responsible operation within its projects.

  • Chapter 37 - Emergency Operations: This new chapter outlines best practices for managing emergency situations effectively, ensuring the safety of personnel, and minimizing potential damage.

Training Requirements: What You Need to Know

The main training categories (40-hour, 24-hour, 16-hour, and 8-hour) haven't changed, but the new manual highlights Safety Officers' job. They now need to figure out what training each person they supervise needs. This way, safety training can be more personalized, focusing on the specific dangers in each project.

Here's a quick refresher on the existing training categories we offer:

  • 40-Hour Training: This comprehensive course caters to a wide range of professionals, including Collateral Duty Safety Officers (CDSOs), Site Safety and Health Officers (SSHOs), managers, supervisors, and construction personnel working on military contracts.

  • 24-Hour Training: Ideal for contractors, government employees, and CDSOs needing to fulfill their 4-year refresher requirement.

  • 16-Hour Training: Designed as an introductory course for contractors and government employees unfamiliar with the EM 385 standards.

  • 8-Hour Training: This refresher course caters to SSHOs fulfilling their annual training requirement and anyone needing a general refresh on the manual's core principles.

Key Changes Impacting Various Work Areas

The revised manual introduces several new specific safety requirements across various work areas. Here are some highlights:

  • Site Safety and Health Officers (SSHOs): The manual outlines new responsibilities and qualifications for SSHOs, ensuring their effectiveness in managing safety programs on-site.

  • Fire Safety: Enhanced requirements for fire prevention, protection, and fire watch procedures aim to minimize fire risks at work sites.

  • Vehicle Safety: Defensive driving protocols are now mandatory for operators of vehicles, machinery, and mechanized equipment.

  • Loading Handling Equipment: Personnel operating loading and handling equipment will now require a medical evaluation to ensure their fitness for the job.

  • Blasting Operations: The new manual establishes stricter regulations for blasting operations, including specific requirements for the Blaster-in-Charge and the development of a comprehensive explosive site safety plan.

  • Sanitation: Food service training and detailed extermination plans are now mandatory to ensure proper sanitation practices at work sites.

  • Uncrewed Aircraft: As mentioned earlier, the new chapter on drones outlines safety protocols for their operation within USACE projects.

  • Electrical and Hazardous Energy Control (HEC): The manual incorporates established regulations from the Army's Electrical and HEC Safety Program.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with Our EM 385 Training

The revised EM 385-1-1 manual signifies a significant shift in USACE's approach to safety and occupational health. By familiarizing yourself with the new structure, focusing on your specific training needs, and understanding the updated requirements within your work area, you can ensure continued compliance and a safer work environment for yourself and your colleagues.

Whether you're a contractor, military personnel, or safety officer, our courses ensure compliance and promote a culture of safety in all endeavors. We offer comprehensive 8-hour, 16-hour, 24-hour, and 40-hour programs. Head to our website to view all of our offerings and pick the course that best suits your needs. 

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