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COTTON BRAIDED CABLE. This type of cable is unique to BT and can be found in Telephone Exchanges and in Repeater Stations. There are approximately 600 locations that contain Cotton braided cable.

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Presentation Transcript
This type of cable is unique to

BT and can be found in

Telephone Exchanges and in

Repeater Stations.

There are approximately 600

locations that contain Cotton

braided cable.


Cotton Braided Cable {CBC} is grey in colour and is normally located within the main distribution frame of a BT Telephone Exchange

CBC contains a lead foil between

the copper conducting wires inside

the cable, and the outer cotton



THE PROBLEMPart of the cable construction is a lead / arsenic based fire resistantpaint which was impregnated on the outer cotton sheath, as these cables have been in situ for a long time {40-60 yrs} this sheath can become friable and airborne if disturbed.

Cutting these cables when dry can produce dust; this may lead to significant amounts of lead in the air, possibly enough to contravene

the control of

lead at work

regulations 2002.

the remedy

In Nov 2005(on behalf of CWU HQ)

I attended a trial of a new WET

recovery process for cotton

braided cable recovery.

My attendance was to evaluate

any change in working practice

that may affect the health and

safety of CWU members and

contractors who will do this

type of work.

The trial has been designed by BT to get statistical data to support the change in working practices for CBC recovery.

AnIndependent Analyst and BT safety services were also in attendance to develop a new generic risk assessment for the updated CBC recovery process.

trial pre start
Trial Pre Start

A {site specific} Risk assessment

took place.

control measures were put in

place, Including a Three stage

air lock.

A full briefing from the analyst was given to trial engineers, this included a Face piece Face fit,

to ensure an adequate seal for face mask’s.

As required Under current HSE

guidance in the ACOP to the

COSHH regulations (2002),

this was done by the analyst.

health risks

Health Risks

Lead can enter your body in two ways.

you may breathe it in.


it can be ingested - you may eat it.

Lead can easily enter into the body where it is absorbed into the bones and also affects the vitalorgans.


Advice given to engineersIf the lead levels in your bodyget to high you will begin to feel ill. Lead may not be the cause of these symptoms but…….

You should consult a doctor if

you have any of these symptoms after working with lead;

Headaches, Nausea, Anaemia,

Tiredness, Constipation,

Stomach pain, or

A rapid Loss of weight.

it is important to remember
It Is Important to remember

Continued uncontrolled

exposure could cause

serious damage to the

kidneys, brain and nervous


the trial

The trial involves the spray application of a modified type of paint stripper, {Lead limiter}This product can also be applied by brush.

This will encapsulate the dust on CBC cables.

During the trial

Five key areas were highlighted

  • Cutting tools.
  • Cable access.
  • Product application.
  • Product identity.
  • Asbestos.
Cutting tools.

Because these cables are tightly

packed together, workers were

using open bladed Knives to cut

twine that holds the cables onto

the framework, and this could

cause piercing injuries.


To rectify this problem, the following knife is now being used.It has a curved blade with its cuttingface on its inner radius, this will reduce the potential for piercing injuries.

Cable access.

As the gangways are close together, access to the cables can be tight.

stretching from ladders may cause falls & manual handling problems.

Product application.

During manual product application, Some of the product was running off the brushes and down the handle onto the wrists of the engineers, causing redness of the skin, and slight burning.

This can easily be remedied if a long sleeved elasticated glove was used,

so that the glove can go over the elasticated sleeves of the overalls.

product identity

During the first trial, the product

Was clear in colour, this caused

problems for the engineers, as

they had difficulty

seeing where

they had applied

the Product.

After consulting the product


a RED dye was added to the


This would highlight as to where

the product had been placed.


CBC is normally situated between two

floors, the cables have to go through

cable holes in the floors or ceilings.

As these holes are sealed with a fire

stopping compound, it needs to be

analysed for Asbestos, as it was used

in the construction of cable holes

within some exchange buildings in

the past.

historical issues
Historical issues

Because of the nature / dangers of

this type of recovery work, it has

Been mostly undertaken by


Because contractors are paid by the

job, it has come to light that they

are cutting corners on safety to save

time, and therefore money.

contractor compliance
Contractor compliance

The non compliance by contractors

should be tolerated.

Therefore BT were asked to produce

a principal contractor guidance

Document to be used bydirect

labour and external Contractors.

(A copy is available for inspection)

trial compleation

Once the trial had been piloted at

three other Exchanges, (summer 06)

the findings were analysed by BT

safety services and the CWU before

becoming an agreed new CBC wet

Recovery process.

this trial was attended by
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (Analysts)
  • Eco Solutions (product supplier)
  • Dave Wallington (CHD)BT Group Safety Advisor
  • Robin Edington (Accenture HR Safety Services)
  • Richard Shoulders (NLT245)BT Project Manager
  • Graeme Russell (CWU)
  • Trial engineers

The following lists the main legislation applicable to the work described

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs. 1999
  • The Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regs 1992
  • Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regs 1996
  • Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002
  • Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (CAW)
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDM)
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA)
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005
  • Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
  • Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regs 1998
  • BT Information systems (ISIS)

The list is for reference only and it is not definitive.