Before we dive into the purpose of a Quality Management System, we should probably define what a QMS is.  In defining what a QMS is, we will likely touch on the purpose of a Quality Management System. When quality management folks talk about a Quality Management System (and Lord bless you if you get them

Biblical lessons for business

One of the sermons at church recently caught my attention, as they often do.  This was unusual because it was a Sunday when there was no kids’ service and Kyle was helping with the AV.  This left me to contend with our three children during service which means I’m usually not able to listen well. 

Car Repairs, UGH | Mission Matters

Nobody gets excited about taking their car to the shop, unless you are lucky enough to have a project car that is being restored.  Ahhh, wouldn’t that be nice?  Back to reality, most of us have a car that we use daily to get kids to and from school and activities and get ourselves to

#QualityMatters – Simon Sinek & Start with Why

#QualityMatters – Simon Sinek & Start with Why
#QualityMatters podcast sponsored by Texas Quality Assurance LLC and hosted by our very own Darci and Kyle Chambers. Darci and Kyle have long been fans of the work of Simon Sinek and of course “Start with Why“. Need less to say, his work has influenced a number of episodes on the #QualityMatters podcast. So be sure to tune in, check it out and get back to doing work that matters!

Orkin Does it Right

I probably need to reread the definition of favorite because everyone of these case studies seems to be my favorite.  Anytime a company has an ISO 9001 success story and has the numbers to back it up, I love it! I especially like this case study on Orkin because they did things wrong and they

You Are Not Alone in Poor Customer Service

Nanni was not happy.  He paid a deposit on some copper ingots from a merchant, Ea-nasir, that he had purchased from previously.  Upon receipt of the ingots, Nanni was displeased with the quality.  The tablet pictured below was chiseled out by Nanni after other attempts to get his deposit back.  He sent messengers several times

ITC Facing Criminal Charges for Chemical Plant Fire

In March, we aired an episode with our first guest, Mo Aziz, discussing the ITC “Intercontinental Terminals Company” Chemical Plant fire.  The fire burned for days and reignited after it was extinguished.  Most of Houston wondered what, if anything, would be the penalty for ITC.  Based on history, these plants aren’t often penalized effectively enough to encourage them to up their game when it comes to safety and prevention.  When a problem repeats itself, it’s time to start looking at better processes.

ITC has numerous encounters with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  This particular plant fire was really unable to sneak on by Houston as you could see the plume for miles and miles outside of and around Houston.  Allergy and asthma flare ups were experienced by many.  There were shelters in place for Deer Park, rendering many unable to go to work.  Then, there was a breach of a containment wall.  Large amounts of toxic chemicals discharged into Tucker Bayou.  Air and water quality were a major concern.

It has now been announced that ITC will be charged by Harris County’s District Attorney’s office with 5 misdemeanor counts of water pollution.  When I first read this, I was shocked.  I thought to myself, “Misdemeanor only?”  As I continued to read, I realized what a big deal this was.  Previously and often, plants are charged civilly only or incur minor fines from TCEQ.  In this case, the DA is charging ITC with criminal charges.  Wow!

A spokesperson from the DA’s office has also stated that “This the beginning of our review, not the end,” indicating there are likely more Criminal Charges coming.  The current charges are for the 5 days the law was violated and carry a fine up to $100,000 per day.

I looked into whether or not TCEQ has fined ITC and what those fines were if it had.  From what I’ve read, TCEQ can attempt to enforce action against a company, but it seemingly goes ignored.  When the companies refuse to pay, TCEQ turns it over to the state attorney general’s office.  In this most recent case with ITC, the Texas Attorney General filed suit against ITC before the fire was even put out stating that ITC “…has a history of environmental violations.”

I will say there are many arguments by different groups and parties as to why the AG filed (not good reasons according to them) and favor the DA’s Criminal Charges.  Many are wondering if the AG will supersede the DA.  I’m not going to delve into all of that.  I’ve attached links to the articles for you to read if you are so inclined.

For our purpose, quality matters.  ITC didn’t have proper processes in place, neither to prevent nor quickly remedy the situation.  Whether the AG, DA, or TCEQ wins, I just hope that it’s enough for the chemical plants to take notice and enforce a better quality program to protect its civilian neighbors.

Harris County DA hits ITC with five environmental charges

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