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March 10, 2023

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Brighton & Hove council fined after school caretaker dies

A city council has been fined after a school caretaker died following a fall from a ladder.

David Mobsby, was working at Blatchington Mill School, a community school in Hove, and suffered a fatal head injury when he fell from the ladder on 3 August 2018.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court

Mr Mobsby, 71, had been cleaning the roof of a bike shed at the school on Nevill Avenue, Hove, using a standard-length broom and a telescopic surface cleaner before falling approximately 2.5 metres onto the tarmacked surface below.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Brighton and Hove City Council, the local authority that employs staff at Blatchington Mill School, had failed to ensure that the cleaning of the school’s bike shed was properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out using a safe work method.

Brighton and Hove City Council pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The council was fined £66,666 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 28 February 2023.

HSE Inspector Natalie Pomfret said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well-known. In this case, this tragic incident led to a man’s avoidable death. This death could have been prevented if his employer had acted to plan and supervise the work activity and ensured a safe method of work was in place.”

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