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What Is a Chief Safety Officer and How to Become One

What Is a Chief Safety Officer?

A chief safety officer (CSO) creates policies and procedures that minimize risk and ensure the safety of a company’s employees. As a CSO, your job duties include enforcing these regulations, overseeing all safety protocol, developing improved safety training, and analyzing what went wrong when accidents happen. This career requires a bachelor’s degree, usually in business administration. Specialty fields may require a specific degree. For example, CSO positions in the health care field may require a medical degree. Additional qualifications include management experience, knowledge of all industry safety protocol, and strong leadership skills. As a chief safety officer, you must also be able to keep sensitive information about employees and your company confidential.

How to Become a Chief Safety Officer

The main qualifications for getting a job as a chief safety officer depend on the employer in question, but usually include a bachelor's degree and some familiarity with various types of threats, including radiation and natural disasters. Some employers prefer applicants who have a master's degree—this is most common in areas that are more dangerous, such as some disease research laboratories. Chief safety officers usually spend several years advancing their careers in other positions applying for this role. Where you start working can influence your later job opportunities because different areas have different safety requirements, so consider where you want to focus your career when looking through job opportunities.