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PPE is protective gear that creates a physical barrier between you and dangerous asbestos fibres.

Wearing PPE stops you breathing in fibres and protects your clothes from contamination. 

Follow the recommended standards for asbestos PPE. Wearing a standard dust mask will not protect you from asbestos fibres. Always wear a P2 rated face mask when working with asbestos. These are available from hardware stores.

It’s important to put on PPE in the right order and wear it correctly, or you risk exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres. The long-term effects of asbestos exposure are not worth the risk.  

SafeWork NSW recently released a series of videos to keep tradies and anyone doing DIY home renovations safe when managing asbestos.  This video describes what PPE you should wear.  

Recommended protective gear for asbestos safety 

To protect your health, it’s important to wear PPE in the following order: 

  1. Disposable coveralls. These should include a hood and elasticised cuffs. Choose the next size up to reduce the risk of tearing.  

  1. Shoes. Don’t wear shoes with laces as they are hard to decontaminate. Gumboots are safer as they can be wiped down.  

  1. Disposable shoe covers. These should be secure and cover the entire shoe. The soles must be non-slip.  

  1. Disposable gloves. Tuck gloves under the elasticised cuffs. If the cuffs are loose, tape them down to create a seal. 

  1. Face mask. Don’t use a standard dust mask. Always use a P2 rated particulate face mask. It should fit well and cover half your face. You must be clean shaven for the mask to seal properly. 

  1. Protective eyewear. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust. 

Working with asbestos 

Asbestos safety requires careful planning. Before working with asbestos, have the right equipment ready to go with your PPE. You need: 

  • 200 micron thick plastic drop sheets 

  • duct tape 

  • wet wipes or disposable cloths 

  • bucket of water 

  • water sprayer (hose or bottle with misting attachment) 

  • non-electrical tools  

  • 200 micron thick asbestos waste plastic bags 

  • signs 

  • barriers to exclude others from the area 

  • bin or designated waste storage area. 

Do not reuse disposable items. Treat them as asbestos waste. Carefully clean and decontaminate shoes, masks, and eyewear before future use. You also need to decontaminate the area you’ve been working in. 

Disposing of PPE and asbestos waste 

After working with asbestos, your disposable PPE is contaminated and becomes asbestos waste. After finishing the work, you need to remove your PPE carefully and in the right order

You can safely dispose of your PPE and asbestos waste at a landfill licenced to accept asbestos in NSW.  

Be asbestos safe

Know the safety protocols when working with asbestos
Close up of man wearing overalls, gloves and mask