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BT exchange reopens after asbestos scare

Backlog clears

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A BT exchange in Isleworth, West London, is now up and running again after the discovery of asbestos in the building.

Following an asbestos alert on 25 April, BT engineers were barred from entering the exchange until a specialist team of contractors had cleaned the premises.

The all-clear was given last weekend, and since then two thirds of the backlog of 500 faults and new orders have been completed. The rest should be cleared by the end of the week.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material used widely as a fire-proofing and insulation material. However, its fibres can cause life-threatening illnesses if inhaled.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos is "the greatest single cause of work related deaths in the UK", accounting for more than 3,500 deaths a year. ®

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