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Julian Baker
Julian Baker

EM 385-1-1: The Essential Safety and Health Manual for All Corps of Engineers Activities (PDF Download)

EM 385-1-1: What You Need to Know About the Safety and Health Requirements Manual

If you are involved in any construction or engineering project related to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or other federal agencies, you need to be familiar with EM 385-1-1. This manual prescribes the safety and health requirements for all Corps of Engineers activities and operations, as well as USACE contracts and those administered on behalf of USACE. In this article, we will explain what EM 385-1-1 is, why it is important, how to access and download it, and what are some of the key requirements and compliance issues that you need to know.


What is EM 385-1-1 and who needs it?

EM 385-1-1 is the Safety and Health Requirements Manual developed by the USACE. It details the safety and health standards and regulations that apply to all Corps of Engineers activities and operations, whether accomplished by military, civilian, or contractor personnel. The manual also implements and supplements the safety and health requirements of other federal agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

em 385-1-1 download pdf

EM 385-1-1 is applicable to anyone who works on or oversees a project related to the USACE or other federal agencies, such as:

  • Construction contractors under the provisions of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Clause 52.236-13

  • Service, supply, and research and development contractors

  • Hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste site investigation, design, or remediation contractors

  • USACE employees, military personnel, and subcontractors

What are the main features and benefits of EM 385-1-1?

EM 385-1-1 is a comprehensive manual that covers all aspects of safety and health for USACE projects. Some of the main features and benefits of EM 385-1-1 are:

  • It provides clear guidance and best practices for preventing accidents, injuries, illnesses, and fatalities

  • It ensures compliance with federal laws, regulations, policies, and standards

  • It promotes a culture of safety and health among all stakeholders

  • It reduces risks, liabilities, costs, and delays associated with safety and health issues

  • It enhances the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of USACE projects

How to access and download EM 385-1-1 PDF?

You can access and download a copy of the complete EM 385-1-1 PDF from the USACE Official Publications website. The current version of the manual is dated September 15, 2008. However, you should also check for any interim changes (changes made between publication of new editions) that may affect your project. You can find the latest changes on the USACE Safety and Occupational Health Office website. You can also subscribe to receive email notifications of any updates or revisions to EM 385-1-1.

EM 385-1-1 Requirements and Compliance

General safety and health requirements

The first part of EM 385-1-1 covers the general safety and health requirements that apply to all USACE projects. These include: Accident prevention plan

Every contractor must prepare and submit an accident prevention plan (APP) to the USACE contracting officer for approval before starting any work. The APP is a document that describes how the contractor will comply with EM 385-1-1 and other applicable safety and health requirements. The APP must include the following elements:

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  • A safety and health policy statement

  • An organizational chart and responsibilities of key personnel

  • A list of applicable safety and health standards and regulations

  • A hazard analysis and risk assessment for each phase of work

  • A description of the safety and health training program

  • A description of the inspection and audit program

  • A description of the accident reporting and investigation program

  • A description of the emergency response plan

  • A description of the subcontractor control program

  • Any site-specific safety and health requirements or procedures

Safety and health training

All personnel involved in USACE projects must receive adequate safety and health training to perform their duties safely and competently. The contractor is responsible for providing the necessary training to its employees, subcontractors, and visitors. The training must cover the following topics:

  • The contents and requirements of EM 385-1-1 and the APP

  • The recognition, evaluation, and control of hazards

  • The use, care, and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • The proper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and waste

  • The emergency procedures and first aid measures

  • The reporting and investigation of accidents and incidents

  • Any other relevant safety and health topics specific to the project or task

Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any device or clothing that protects the wearer from injury or illness. PPE includes items such as helmets, gloves, goggles, ear plugs, respirators, boots, vests, etc. The contractor must provide appropriate PPE to its employees, subcontractors, and visitors, and ensure that they use it properly. The contractor must also comply with the following PPE requirements:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment to determine the need for PPE

  • Select PPE that meets or exceeds the applicable standards and specifications

  • Train personnel on the proper use, care, and maintenance of PPE

  • Inspect PPE before each use and replace or repair any defective or damaged PPE

  • Enforce the use of PPE through supervision and discipline

  • Document the PPE program in the APP