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Discuss historical development of the Navy Safety and Occupational Health (SOH) program.
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The Navy has historically maintained safety and occupational health (SOH) programs to protect its personnel and property. Occupational safety has long been an element of the overall Navy safety program that also includes explosives safety, nuclear safety, aviation safety, acquisition and system safety, traffic safety and off-duty safety. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Special Assistant for Safety Matters (OPNAV (N09F)) has traditionally managed the overall SOH program.

The SOH program gained special prominence after passage of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act on 31 December 1970. Although the primary thrust of the OSH Act was directed at the private sector employer, section 19 of the OSH Act directed Federal agencies to establish and maintain comprehensive and effective OSH programs consistent with the standards issued under Section 6 of the OSH Act.
The safety officer is responsible for managing the SOH program. The duty of the safety officer or safety manager is to make sure all personnel understand and strictly enforce all prescribed safety precautions. Normally, the safety officer has department-head status and seniority and is responsible for carrying out a comprehensive safety program.

The safety officer's responsibilities include the following:
Acting as the principal advisor to the commanding officer on shipboard SOH matters.
Oversee ship-wide planning to implement all elements of the SOH [program
Prepare and submit, through the chain of command, requests for external SOH support such as industrial hygiene surveys, safety surveys, safety assist visits or technical guidance.
Participating in mishap and safety investigations.
Ensure timely and accurate recording and reporting of required mishap reports.
Maintain and analyze SOH records (inspection/assessment reports, injury reports, and mishap statistics) and determine trends.
Ensure that annual internal safety inspection is performed.
Ensure dissemination of SOH information.
Schedule/coordinate required SOH training with the training officer/planning board for training. Conduct training as appropriate and ensure records of that training are maintained.
Serve as advisor-recorder of the safety council. Prepare agenda for issuance by the chairperson.
Serve as chairperson of the enlisted safety committee.
Ensure, that SOH discrepancies beyond ship's force capability are properly identified, prioritized, and documented for corrective action.
Complete the Afloat Safety Officer course (A-4J-0020) or the Submarine Safety Officer course (F-4J-0020), as appropriate, prior to or within six months of assignment.
Ensure timely processing and follow-up on safety hazard reports submitted by crew members.
Coordinate with the command's traffic safety coordinator and recreation and off-duty safety (RODS) coordinator to include these programs in the overall SOH program
The department head is the designated department safety officer. He or she coordinates the department safety program with the command safety officer. The department safety officer acts as a point of contact for coordinating and evaluating the ship's safety program. Further, the department safety officer ensures the correction of all hazardous conditions revealed by safety hazard reports.