McArdle’s collapse sees £200,000 fine waived for M25 death

Directors of collapsed Colnbrook construction firm McArdle were let off with a slapped hand on Friday as the company was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court for the death of an M25 worker in 2010.

Mihai Hondru

Mihai Hondru, who was killed by a bulldozer during McArdle’s M25 widening works in 2010.

J McArdle Contracts Ltd – now in liquidation – formerly based off Mill Street, Colnbrook, was handed a fine of £2,000 after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

As we reported last year, the timing of McArdle’s administration came just one day before the initial hearing into the death of Romanian worker Mihai Hondru, causing the prosecution to be temporarily halted.

While sentencing the judge commented that if the company had still been trading the fine would have been £200,000.

Bulldozer operator Stephen Blackmore, 54, from Devon, was also found guilty of breaching Regulation 37(3)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was treated more harshly, being given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

Hondru, 39, from Ilford, suffered multiple crush injuries and died at the scene during the M25 widening works managed by McArdle, on 20 October 2010.

A freedom of information request to find out the facts of what happened  two years after the accident was denied to his family by the HSE.

Today it appears they have also been denied any form of justice.

Mihai Hondru’s death was a needless tragedy, all the more so because it was preventable.

HSE inspector Sandy Carmichael found that safety breaches by McArdle were to blame following changing conditions on the site:

“Mr Hondru’s death could have easily been avoided if the transport operations had been properly managed and there had been good vigilance by everyone involved.”

On average over recent years seven workers have died each year as a result of incidents involving vehicles or mobile plant on construction sites. A further 93 are seriously injured.

McArdle’s former site was put up for sale in September last year, eventually being bought by the founder Jim McArdle’s son.

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