The Health and Safety Executive has successfully prosecuted EDF Energy Contracting after the death of a worker at a school in Worthing, West Sussex

The company pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court to breaching regulations 4b and 4c of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £160 000 and ordered to pay full costs of £24,594.98.

The prosecution relates to an incident on 2 August 2007 when employee James Gordon was dismantling a mobile tower scaffold in the sports hall of Worthing High School. The scaffolding had been used to carry out high-level maintenance to lighting and heating appliances. EDF Energy Contracting was contracted by West Sussex County Council.

The top working platform had been removed, and Gordon was on an intermediate platform when it appears that he stumbled. There were no handrails to save him and he fell more than 5 metres, suffering fatal head injuries.

James Gordon was 63 when he died and was due to retire this year. He leaves behind a widow and a number of grandchildren.

HSE inspector Russell Beckett said: “It is important that all tower scaffolds are erected and dismantled correctly and guard rails are fitted to prevent falls.

“All working platforms must be provided with suitable edge protection. Guard rails should be at least 950 mm high, and an intermediate guard rail should be provided so that workers can’t fall through any unprotected gaps.”