FORT RUCKER, Alabama -- The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center welcomed a distinguished visitor in late September with the arrival of the recently installed deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

Eugene Collins, a member of the Senior Executive Service and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, assumed duties as DASA (ESOH) in June 2015. His office's primary mission is to set the strategic direction, goals and objectives for the Army Safety Program. Among his other responsibilities, Collins serves as functional representative for Career Program 12, which spans the Army's various safety and occupational health professions and is administered by the USACRC.

"It's exciting for me to come to Fort Rucker to see CP-12 and our other risk management and loss prevention programs in action," Collins said. "I look forward to learning more and being an advocate for our SOH professionals."

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Farnsworth, director of Army Safety and commanding general, USACRC, said he appreciates the experience Collins brings to his post.

"Mr. Collins has a long history in maintenance and logistics with both the Air Force and Army," Farnsworth said. "He has a unique perspective on the human element in our operations and how small, often unnoticed mistakes can lead to losses. We try to mitigate those events through proactive risk management, and he has an excellent understanding of the concept."

As part of his Fort Rucker tour, Collins visited the USACRC's classroom facilities for CP-12, Aviation Safety Officer Course and Ground Safety Officer Course training. He also spent time at the Crash Dynamics Lab (CDL), an accident recreation facility formerly known as the "Aircraft Boneyard," to better visualize how the USACRC trains SOH professionals in mishap investigations.

"The CDL is a fantastic facility," Collins said. "Since most accident investigations are conducted at the unit level, the training they get here is critically important."

In the near term, Collins said he is focused on working with the USACRC and Office of the Surgeon General to formally integrate occupational health into the existing Army Safety Program. A policy change late last year mandates the development of a comprehensive, Army-wide SOH management system to eliminate redundancies in accident and hazard reporting.

"I believe bringing occupational health under the safety umbrella will be a boon for our Soldiers and civilian workforce," Collins said. "Doing so will eliminate confusion and allow us to more effectively direct resources where they're needed most."

Collins' complete biography is available at http://www.asaie.army.mil/Public/ESOH/bios/index.html.