A company has been fined £160,000 over the death of James Gordon, who died after plunging from scaffolding at Worthing High School.

EDF Energy Contracting Ltd pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court today to breaching regulations 4b and 4c of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The court heard how Mr Gordon, 63, was dismantling a mobile tower scaffold in the school’s sports hall on August 2, 2007 when he fell.

The top working platform had been removed and Mr Gordon, of Leigh Park, Havant in Hampshire, was on an intermediate platform when it appears that he stumbled.

There were no handrails to save him and he fell more than five meters, suffering fatal head injuries.

Mr Gordon was 63 when he died and he was due to retire in two years time. He leaves behind a widow and a number of grandchildren.

The scaffolding had been used to carry out high-level maintenance to lighting and heating appliances within the sports hall.

There were no children at the school at the time.

At the time, EDF Energy Contracting Ltd was contracted by West Sussex County Council.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is now urging companies to re-examine their working from height practices after a firm was fined for the death of an employee.

As well as the fine, the company was also ordered to pay full costs of £24,594.98.

HSE Inspector Russell Beckett said: “It is important that all tower scaffolds are erected and dismantled correctly and that guard rails are fitted so as to prevent falls. All too often tower scaffolds are used incorrectly without the correct handrails.

“All working platforms must be provided with suitable edge protection.

“Guard rails should be at least 950mm high and an intermediate guard rail should be provided so that workers can’t fall through any unprotected gaps.”