PPE for Safe Asbestos Removal

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and respirators for asbestos Removal

When working with or removing asbestos, it can often release dangerous fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibres. If these fibres are inhaled it can lead to serious diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

There is no ‘safe level‘ of exposure to asbestos and choosing the right personal protective equipment will minimise the chances of inhaling asbestos fibres.

When thinking about asbestos protection, wearing protective clothing such as Type 5/6 coveralls a size larger than you usually wear will help prevent the seams from ripping. If the cuffs are loose, then these should be taped. Used coveralls must be treated as asbestos waste and disposed of accordingly. We have listed a few must-haves for clothing while working with asbestos.


When handling asbestos, it is essential to wear suitable gloves to minimize the risk of developing asbestos warts. These rough skin lesions typically appear on the flexor aspects of the fingers or the palms and are caused by asbestos fibres penetrating the skin. To prevent this, it is recommended to use single-use disposable gloves. After use, these gloves should be treated as asbestos waste and disposed of according to proper safety protocols.


Asbestos fibres can easily be brought into a home on shoes, posing significant health risks. Footwear with laces can make decontamination a difficult, and often an impossible process. Therefore, it is advisable to wear suitable Wellington boots when working with asbestos. These should be paired with protective covers that can be easily decontaminated.


The most critical piece of personal protective equipment for handling asbestos is the respirator. This device serves as the primary barrier between hazardous asbestos fibres and the lungs, making the selection of the correct respirator paramount. Below we have put together a list of what respirators must include when working with asbestos and some different types that are available.

Respirators must:

  • Be suitable for asbestos handling
  • Be face fit tested
  • Be worn correctly
  • Be disposed of in accordance with local regulations

Respirator Comparisons – Pros and Cons

Respirator Type



Disposable Dust Masks (EN149)

  • These can be cheaper to purchase
  • Lighter
  • These can be more difficult to achieve a good fit
  • These can work out more expensive for long projects
  • They must be disposed of as asbestos waste.

Semi-disposable half masks (EN405)

  • Easier to achieve a good fit
  • Less inward leakage than a disposable dust mask
  • Filters are generally bonded to the mask and cannot be replaced
  • If filters are bonded the whole mask must be disposed of as asbestos waste

Half face masks (EN140)

  • Easier to achieve a good fit
  • Less inward leakage than a disposable dust mask
  • Only the filters are classed as asbestos waste
  • The mask body must be decontaminated before reuse.

Face Fit Testing

To ensure effective protection, a respirator must fit the wearer properly. Many manufacturers, such as Moldex and 3M, provide fit testing kits to help achieve this. It is also important for wearers to be clean-shaven, as facial hair can compromise the seal of dust masks and respirators, reducing their effectiveness.

Selecting and using the appropriate personal protective equipment, including properly fitting respirators and suitable footwear, is essential in safeguarding against the dangers of asbestos exposure. Please take a look at our full range of Asbestos Protection to make sure you are as protected as possible when working with asbestos.