PPE for Safe Asbestos Removal

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Safe 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 in 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 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.


Suitable gloves should be worn when handling asbestos to reduce the risk of developing ‘asbestos warts’. It is advised that ‘single use’ disposable gloves are used and after use, these must be treated as asbestos waste.


Footwear with laces can make decontamination a difficult, and often an impossible process. Suitable wellington boots should be worn as asbestos protection.


Without a doubt, the most important piece of personal protective equipment worn when handling asbestos are respirators for asbestos. As the respirator is the barrier between dangerous asbestos fibres and the lungs, thought should be given to selecting the correct piece of equipment.

Respirators must:

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

Respirator Comparisons – Pros and Cons

Respirator Type



Disposable Dust Masks (EN149)

  • Can be cheaper to purchase
  • Lighter
  • Can more difficult to achieve a good fit
  • Can work out more expensive for long projects
  • Must be disposable 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
  • Mask body must be decontaminated before reuse.

Face Fit Testing

A respirator must fit the wearer correctly to ensure adequate protection from asbestos fibres. Most manufacturers supply fit testing kits including Moldex and 3M. Wearers of dust masks and respirators must be clean shaven.

Please take a look at our full range of Asbestos Protection to make sure you are as protected as possible when working with asbestos.