Searching the USACE safety manual, easy as A-B-C

Searching the USACE safety manual, easy as A-B-C

by Sameria Zavala
US Army Corps of Engineers Far East District

The Safety and Health Requirement Manual, EM 386-1-1, is now available in an app powered by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Far East District (FED) is taking full advantage of it.

Approximately 950 pages of content is now in a searchable, mobile format that fits in the palm of your hand. The app was designed to read on-the-go, bookmark need-to-know information, copy and paste text or images, and share via email.

The manual prescribes the safety and health requirements for all USACE activities and operations.

“I use the app quite often on multiple constructions sites I go to,” said Gregory Pavelka, an FED Safety and Occupational Health specialist. “It is a lot easier to open the app instead of having EM-385-1-1 stored on my phone. I frequently recommend it to the Site Safety and Health Office (SSHO), if they don’t have it downloaded already.

“By far, the best thing about it is the ease of use,” he said. “When I see an issue that needs correcting, I can correct the issue while also educating the SSHO by showing exactly where in the manual, and the correct verbiage of the passage. I cannot remember everything and having such a helpful tool is a great way to make sure I’m correcting properly.”

As FED continues to hire new employees, it is placing importance on evolving its processes and methods to meet the needs of the incoming generation of professionals.

Chong Pom Yu, an FED Safety intern, has taken full advantage of the app to expand his understanding of safety as it relates to FED.

“I’m an intern and I don’t have all the knowledge. If I want to know about scaffolding, I can search, and it shows everything on scaffolding. It’s easy to look at the phone because the book is huge. There are also safety videos, I can just look and learn,” said Yu.

According to EM 386-1-1, some of the technical requirements of the manual may not be applicable to overseas activities due to conflicting circumstances, practices, local laws or regulations, or the unavailability of equipment.

In such instances, a hazard analysis must be developed to document how required protection will be achieved by alternate means.

The most current version of the manual was published in 2014, but there are plans for an update in the future.

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