Firm Fined For Worker's Fatal Fall

Man Died Following Fall From Height


EDF Energy Contracting Ltd has been ordered to pay almost £185,000 after an employee fell to his death while working for the company.

James Gordon, 63, was dismantling a mobile tower scaffold in the sports hall of Worthing High School in West Sussex when it appears that he stumbled. There were no handrails for Mr Gordon to hold and he fell more than five metres.

He died from head injuries and was due to retire in two years time.

The scaffolding was used to carry out high-level maintenance to lighting and heating equipment in the school's sports hall. The top working platform had been removed and Mr Gordon was on an intermediate platform when he fell on August 2, 2007. EDF Energy Contracting Ltd was contracted to carry out the work by West Sussex County Council.

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

"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," said HSE Inspector Russell Beckett.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this fatal accident. Falls from height remain a major source of serious and fatal injuries following an accident at work.

“As such, employers need to ensure that work at height is properly planned and carried out in a safe manner.

“Sadly, I have helped many people pursue their compensation claim following injuries sustained in a fall at work.”