In recognition of the impact that compliance with federal, state and local occupational safety and environmental regulations has made on all higher education campuses, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in 1994 endorsed and funded an auxiliary program that is operated from the OSRHE facility in Oklahoma City. This program, known as the Regents' Training Center (RTC), was governed by an advisory board composed of representatives of the member institutions. An annual membership assessment was billed to participating campuses.
In 2004, the name of the RTC was changed to the System Safety, Health and Environment Resource (SSHER) Center, and it became a centrally funded program. This change means that all public institutions of higher learning are now members and no longer pay an annual fee. There are now 32 participating public institutions representing 49 campuses.
This program is an active network of employees responsible for safety, security, compliance, loss prevention, risk management, emergency management and environmental issues. Periodically, the SSHER Center provides training to these representatives and their campus employees, in addition to maintaining a resource library of training documents.
Examples of the training provided to the campus representatives include the Basic Occupational Safety School, the Environmental Compliance and Hazardous Materials School, and the Higher Education Emergency Management School. These training seminars are held at various campuses in the central Oklahoma area in an attempt to facilitate attendance from all the schools. In addition to the three listservs, the coordinator also publishes a quarterly campus safety newsletter, which can be distributed to all campus employees.
By providing the SSHER Center to an established network of campuses, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have recognized that, while each campus has individual needs, compliance issues in federal, state and local regulations are common throughout the state. It is the mission of the SSHER Center to provide prompt, accurate and thorough assistance to member institutions.