Posted on: April 5, 2024

EM 385-1-1: Unveiling the Latest Safety Manual Updates

EM 385-1-1: Unveiling the Latest Safety Manual Updates

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) takes safety seriously, and that's why they just made some big updates to their safety rulebook, the EM 385-1-1. From new chapters to additional topics, there’s a lot of new information to be aware of. In this article, we’ll explore and break down the significant modifications introduced in the latest version of the EM 385-1-1 manual.

What’s the Biggest Change to the EM 385 Manual?

The entire manual has been rewritten and reorganized. It now has 37 chapters (up from 34) with a consistent structure for easier information retrieval. This expansion isn't just about adding more pages. USACE has implemented a standardized 10-section format across all chapters. This consistency makes navigating the manual significantly easier. Imagine searching for specific information on inspection protocols or training requirements. Previously, you might have had to flip through multiple chapters. Now, you can simply locate the relevant section within each chapter, making it easier to get the information you need and saving valuable time.

How Does This Affect Program Management?

The previous manual included a single chapter on program management, which often caused confusion for both USACE personnel and contractors. Recognizing this issue, USACE has separated this section into two chapters.

One chapter focuses on program management specifically for USACE personnel, outlining their roles and responsibilities in establishing and maintaining a safe work environment. The other chapter caters to contractors, providing them with clear guidelines on how to implement USACE's safety program effectively within their projects. This targeted approach ensures both sides understand their unique obligations when it comes to safety, fostering a more collaborative and responsible work environment.

Are There Any New Chapters?

Yes, the revised manual introduces three entirely new chapters addressing emerging safety concerns within USACE projects. They include Chapter 23: Rope Access, Chapter 33: Uncrewed Aircraft (basically drones), and Chapter 37: Emergency Operations.

How Does This Impact Training Requirements?

While the core training categories (40-hour, 24-hour, 16-hour, and 8-hour) remain unchanged, the revised manual emphasizes the role of Safety Officers in identifying specific training needs for their personnel. This shift towards a customized approach ensures that workers receive the training they need for the specific hazards they’ll encounter in their daily tasks. For example, personnel working on a construction project with blasting operations will require specialized training in this area, while those involved in office work may need a refresher course on general safety protocols.

The revised manual also introduces enhanced qualifications for Site Safety and Health Officers (SSHOs). These individuals play a critical role in overseeing safety programs at project sites. The new requirements ensure SSHOs are equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively manage safety protocols and maintain a safe work environment for everyone involved.

Are There Any Specific Changes to Safety Requirements?

Yes, the revised manual introduces several new requirements across various work areas. These include:

  • Enhanced Roles and Responsibilities for SSHOs: New qualifications ensure SSHOs can effectively manage on-site safety programs.
  • Focus on Specific Safety Needs: Requirements are added for fire prevention, defensive driving, vehicle safety, loading handling equipment operation, blasting operations, sanitation, and uncrewed aircraft operations.
  • Electrical and Hazardous Energy Control: The manual incorporates established regulations from the Army's Electrical and HEC Safety Program.

When Does the New EM 385 Manual Go Into Effect?

The new manual becomes effective on March 15th, 2024. Starting from this day, it's crucial for construction organizations and professionals to follow the latest safety rules outlined in the manual to meet the standards set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Making sure to understand and apply these changes promptly is really important for keeping work environments safe and maintaining high safety standards on construction sites.

How Can I Stay Compliant With the Revised Manual?

The revised EM 385-1-1 manual signifies a significant commitment by USACE to a culture of safety within its projects. 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.

Here at, we understand the importance of staying current with the latest safety standards. We offer a comprehensive suite of EM 385 training programs, ranging from 8-hour refreshers to in-depth 40-hour courses. Our training programs are designed to equip personnel with the knowledge and skills needed to comply with the revised manual and navigate the specific safety requirements of their work environment. We also offer group training options for your entire team.

Don’t delay; enroll with us today!