Site Safety Health Officer (SSHO)

A Site Safety Health Officer (SSHO) is defined in the Safety and Health Requirements Manual (EM 385-1-1) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the "superintendent or other qualified/competent person who is responsible for on-site safety and health," and requires a full-time SSHO on site for most construction projects.

An SSHO is typically a safety specialist or certified safety and required to have formal training, either OSHA 30-hour training (30-hour OSHA general industry safety class or 30-hour OSHA construction safety) or EM-851-1 40-hour training. SSHOs may also be first aid and CPR certified, or have specialized experience in areas like excavation safety or fall protection.

What does a Site Safety Health Officer (SSHO) do?

According to EM385-1-1 regulations, contractors of federally funded projects are required to employ a minimum of one SSHO on site, and if there are more than one officer on a project, a primary SSHO must be designated to oversee the implementation and enforcement of a safety and health program.

Site safety health officers are work on-site every day with employees and must be accessible at all times to answer questions or address safety concerns. The duties and responsibilities are broad and will vary depending on the project or worksite. However, some of the most common duties include:

  • Maintaining Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Conducting project-specific safety training
  • Carrying out site inspections to identify hazards
  • Training employees for emergency situations and evacuations
  • Maintaining a site-specific accident prevention plan
  • Performing daily inspections of equipment and the site
  • Responding to any safety concerns
  • Implementing an accident prevention plan for handling hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste.

Ultimately, a safety and health officer is responsible for ensuring the safety of all workers on a jobsite.

Additional SSHO facts:

  • SSHO stands for Site Safety and Health Officer. An SSHO is a qualified competent person who is responsible for on-site safety and health. Not all construction sites will have an SSHO. It’s a special requirement for government and military contractors. Source:
  • An SSHO must have at least five years of experience in construction safety and health, and at least one year of experience in the same type of work as the project. An SSHO must also have completed the OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety and Health Course and the EM 385-1-1 Safety and Health Course. Source:
  • An SSHO is required to assist in the creation and implementation of site-specific documents required by EM 385-1-1, such as an Accident Prevention Program (APP) and Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA). An SSHO must also conduct safety training, inspections, and audits, and ensure compliance with all applicable safety and health regulations and standards. Source:
  • An SSHO is also responsible for enforcing the safety rules and policies of the prime contractor and the government. An SSHO must report any accidents, injuries, or near misses to the appropriate authorities, and conduct investigations and corrective actions. An SSHO must also maintain records and documentation of all safety and health activities and incidents. Source:
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