Fracking Employment

From the Financial Times 16 October 2103

AMEC forecast just 15,900 to 24,300 nationwide - direct & indirect

Jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years

Only 17% of jobs so far have gone to local people

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Just who does stand between YOU and a fracking accident?

The job of Health, Safety and Environment Director is an important one.

We haven’t see Cuadrilla’s job description for this post , but here is how the UK’s official graduate careers website defines the responsibility of a Health and Safety Adviser (Presumably the responsibilities of a Director are commensurately greater)

A health and safety adviser offers expert knowledge and skills in order to generate and promote a positive health and safety culture. This represents a key role in helping to control occupational risk.

Health and safety advisers are based in a range of organisations from multinationals to small consultancies, and work in partnership with employers, employees, directors and trade unions.

They are responsible for ensuring that all safety legislation is adhered to and policies and practices are adopted. They help to plan, implement, monitor and review the protective and preventative measures that companies are required or choose to follow, and work to minimise operational losses, occupational health problems, accidents and injuries.

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/health_and_safety_adviser_job_description.htm

Great stuff. So it sounds as though to do this job you need to be experienced in the working practices of the industry concerned, or you are going to be pretty much learning on the job. Now don’t get us wrong, many people have little choice but to learn on the job – being thrown in at the deep end is all well and good for a salesman – “sink or swim mate!” has probably been the making of many of them. However, in an area where the health and safety of an entire community is potentially at stake, this approach is simply not acceptable.

So we were concerned to see the “rabbit in the headlights” act from Leon Jennings, Cuadrilla’s Health, Safety and Environment Director when interviewed by the BBC in December, and his rather nervous sounding 100% assurance to the interviewer that fracking is safe.


We thought we should ask Cuadrilla some probing questions about the man who stands between the Fylde and potential disasters so we emailed their mouthpiece, PPS Group, in mid December and asked for them to answer the following 5 questions about Mr Jennings

1. For how many years has he worked in the gas industry?

2. Who did he work for for the 10 years before he joined Cuadrilla?

3. Has he ever worked for a company that has fracked a horizontal well?

4. What technical qualifications does he hold to enable him to declare on record that fracking is “safe”?

5. If he doesn’t have any direct experience of fracking, will he be learning on the job, and if so should we be worried?

We had no reply so we reminded them this week. The response we got was

We thought it right, given Mr. Jennings’s recent media appearances, to publish his profile on the Management page of the Cuadrilla website. I hope that you will find it helpful.

This page tell us:

Leon Jennings

HSE Director

Mr Jennings joined Cuadrilla Resources as Health, Safety and Environment Director in November 2011.

Mr Jennings has more than a decade of diverse experience working in senior health, safety and environmental roles, including senior management positions at Atkins Group and National Express Group, prior to Cuadrilla. Mr Jennings has enabled these critical risk organisations to understand and manage safety and environmental risk by developing and implementing safety and environmental management systems. He has ensured compliance with relevant legislation, improved the health, safety and environmental performance in key areas such as leadership, policies and risk management, as well as engaged suppliers and local communities on environmental and safety issues.

Mr. Jennings was educated in Nelson, Lancashire prior to achieving formal qualifications in HSE which includes the NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. He is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Grad IOSH) and is a Member of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (MIIRSM).

He lives near Lichfield with his wife and two children.

So we emailed them again

I can see you need a bit of help here. It would appear from that article that the answers are

1. For how many years has he worked in the gas industry?

1 year and two months

2. Who did he work for for the 10 years before he joined Cuadrilla?

Atkins Group and National Express Group

3. Has he ever worked for a company that has fracked a horizontal well?

No

4. What technical qualifications does he hold to enable him to declare on record that fracking is “safe”?

None

5. If he doesn’t have any direct experience of fracking, will he be learning on the job, and if so should we be worried?

Yes and yes

If you disagree with my interpretation or think it’s unfair in any way perhaps you could let me know and explain why by return?

We look forward to their reply!

We should maybe stress here that we bear Mr Jennings no ill-will. He seems to be a perfectly likeable gentleman, and if we needed someone to tell us how to sit correctly at our workstations at Refracktion Towers, we have no doubt that he would be eminently qualified and competent to help.

We have to ask though – based on the information provided to us above would you say that he is well qualified to control all the HSE processes at the bleeding edge of horizontal fracking – something which we should point out has never been tried in the UK before and could have far reaching and irremediable impacts if a mistake were made?

He may, of course, have more knowledge and experience than they are letting on, but we can only go by what they tell us. Based on the information provided I think we have some genuine cause for concern going forward.

Mr Jennings’ willingness to make absolute claims on the safety of fracking does not make us feel any more confident in his judgement, given the experience of communities so far in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

One Response to Just who does stand between YOU and a fracking accident?

Fracking here’s a bad idea!
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"What you have to be able to do when you decide you want to hydraulic fracture is make sure there are no faults in the area. That's really very very important"

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