Site Safety Health Officers Serve as the ‘Hall Monitor’ for Construction Projects

If you went to a large enough high school, chances are there was a hall monitor, or campus police officer. In a sense, a Site Safety Health Officer (SSHO) performs a similar function on construction sites.


For large schools, hall monitors serve as an extra pair of eyes and ears, able to actively move from one part of the campus to the other and are responsible for ensuring that all rules and procedures are followed campus-wide. Their diligence in enforcing the accountability of students and staff is instrumental to the daily identification of threats to the system and their role ensures that the campus running smoothing and safely.


If a construction project is large enough, especially federal construction projects, an EM 385-1-1 compliant Site Safety Health Officers(SSHO) ensures similar levels of accountability and safety as that of a hall monitor.


However, training and responsibilities are far more complex than familiarity with school rules and procedures. The EM 385-1-1 status of an SSHO indicates compliance with government certification requirements for a safety professional of this kind. According to the Board of Certified Site Safety & Health Offices website:


“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers EM 385-1-1 Safety and Health Requirements Manual mandate a Site Safety and Health Officer for most government construction projects. The size, complexity and hazardous elements of each construction project specify the Site Safety and Health Officer (SSHO) level that should be on site. To help SSHOs improve performance, provide educational assistance and continue to help prevent worker injuries the Certified Site Safety and Health Officer designation is now available.”


A cursory glance at the job description of even a general site safety health officer reveals a couple dozen duties that deal with the coordination, documentation, and maintenance of a variety of health standards and regulations on job sites. (You can view a basic job description of a health safety officer offered by The Michigan School Business Officials.)


SSHOs not only ensure that all on-site personnel are working to aid in achieving the goals of a construction project while following safety protocols, the SSHO is also aware of any compliance issues that may need to be satisfied with federal, state, and local offices as well as ensuring compliance with departments such as fire and water to ensure that everything in the build is properly permitted and up to code.


An experienced SSHO with industry knowledge can be instrumental in making the difference between completing a build on time and a build stalling due to unplanned for safety requirements or, even worse, safety violations which require OSHA oversight and may incur fines.


The job of a Site Safety Health Officer, whether you think of them as a hall monitor or a juggler of tasks, is one that can be incredibly demanding. An SSHO must be certified and must have the ability to liaise with dozens of public services and organizations as well as coordinate with site engineers and developers.


When a company is operating multiple build sites that all require SSHOs, when a company is small enough that hiring a full-time SSHO isn’t feasible, or when a company is headquartered in a different state which makes them unfamiliar with local regulations and safety requirements,SRP Envionmental’s expert SSHOs can ensure the safe execution of a project schedule while maximizing cost efficiency.


In addition to onsite services during the build, SSHOs can also assist in the development or revision of accident prevention plans, representing the project during pre-construction and partnering meetings, and in helping business attain the coveted “Safety Pays Award.” Contact us for more information.