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Wearing PPE

Wearing protective equipment

Wearing the right personal protective equipment is essential to protecting your health when working with asbestos. Personal protective equipment is available from most hardware or safety equipment suppliers.

A range of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn by workers to protect them from exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, including:

  • P2 disposable mask or a half-face respirator
  • disposable coveralls suitable to the task , for example, European Standards Type 5 and Type 6
  • face and hand wipes
  • boot covers or gumboots.

Wear the proper respirator

Ordinary dust masks are not effective in preventing the inhalation of asbestos fibres and dust. Cheap masks may save dollars but they do not provide adequate protection against airborne asbestos fibres.

You will need to purchase and use a specific respirator designed specifically for working with asbestos. Wear a half-face filter respirator fitted with a class P1 or P2 filter cartridge, or a class P1 or P2 disposable respirator appropriate for asbestos. These respirators are available from safety shops or hardware stores.

Respirators should comply with Australian Standard AS1716. This number should be displayed somewhere on the mask.

Males should be clean-shaven to make sure there is a clean seal between their face and the mask. The respirator should have an airtight fit. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to check the fit of the respirator.

Keep your respirator on until all work and clean up is done and your contaminated clothing is removed, bagged and sealed.

Wear disposable clothing

Disposable coveralls should be used to prevent the contamination of any clothing, including your shoes/boots. These respirators are available from safety shops or hardware stores. A disposable hat and disposable gloves should also be worn.

Do not keep the clothing, reuse them or shake the dust out of them. After your work is complete, spray your clothing with a light mist of water and remove them. Keep your respirator on when doing this. Seal all of these in your asbestos waste bags for disposal (contaminated clothing can be disposed of with other asbestos waste). Read more information about disposing of asbestos waste.

Have a shower afterwards

To remove any dust and asbestos that may be on your body, have a thorough shower after finishing your work. Make sure you wash your hair as well.

It's essential that you take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others when dealing with asbestos. Find out about preparation before you commence the task.