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If you are a company working with the department of defense, then you probably know about EM-385. EM-385 is your alternative to OSHA, and without it, your contracts with the Department of Defense will be canceled. Thus, if you want to work with the federal government/military rather than civilians, then you must pay attention to the rules of the EM-385.

First things first: What is EM-385?

EM-385 is the code for the safety and health requirements written and constantly updated by the US Corps of Engineers and is meant to regulate DoD projects. This manual very much resembles OSHA, which should not come as a surprise, since both codes are meant to promote occupational health and safety. 

For instance, both OSHA and EM-385 require that all scaffolds are level and planked, all mechanical parts are guarded, and that flexible cords are approved before service.

How are EM-385 and OSHA different, and why are these variations important?

A thorough analysis of OSHA and EM-385 1 will reveal several differences that you must be aware of as a defense contractor. Lack of compliance will make the contracting officer terminate your business operations, and you may face daily penalties amounting to thousands of dollars.
One difference that stands out is the Accident Prevention Plan that must be produced with a single demand, compared to OSHA’s Incident and Injury Prevention Plan that is more basic. Your APP will be assessed thoroughly by the military, as they look for the finest details concerning all potential hazards. 

EM-385 places more emphasis on employee training than OSHA, as it is believed that this is essential to ensure DoD contractors keep a safe working environment for every employee regardless of what their roles are. For instance, in the Accident Prevention Plan, you must highlight all the subjects pertaining to safety that you will discuss with your employees during training. You must also hold additional training and meetings to review past activities, determine appropriate safety and health policies and plan for operational changes.

EM-385 1-1 also has more stringent rules when it comes to the technical side, which can be attributed to the greater demand that military contracts have on businesses. For instance, while an OSHA-trained employee may recognize a worn wire by its appearance, an em-385-trained one will conduct a ring-test as well before installing a new grinding wheel to leave out any room for doubt.

If you are not familiar with the EM-385-1-1, then you expose your business to the hefty $2000 a day fine to non-conforming contractors over the period of which your work is halted. Avoid this severe penalty by hiring a qualified EM-385-1-1 safety consultant before you engage with the military. Our consultants at Safe T Professionals will provide you with a services package to ensure you are EM-385-1-1 compliant at all times. 

We are happy to guide you in the creation of your Accident Prevention Plan, training strategy, as well as other requirements stipulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual. We will answer any questions and be your advocate during inspections. For more information, call us today.

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