Tools and protective equipment

 All of the PPE mentioned below should be available from your local hardware store.

Coveralls

Disposable coveralls should be used to prevent your clothing or footwear getting contaminated by asbestos. Read the product description to make sure that the coveralls are suitable for asbestos work and won’t let any asbestos fibres through the surface. Disposable coveralls that are suitable include:

  • Type 5 disposable coveralls
  • Category 3 (prEN ISO 13982-1) disposable coveralls

When using disposable coveralls for asbestos removal work, make sure that the coveralls:

  • have no external pockets or Velcro fastenings
  • are bought one size too big, to prevent seams ripping during removal work
  • are worn with an attached fitted hood (worn over respirator straps) and disposable gloves
  • are never taken home for washing or re-use
  • are disposed of as asbestos-contaminated waste after a single use
  • the cuffs are sealed with tape
  • the legs are worn over footwear to prevent dust falling into shoes.

Footwear

Safety footwear (such as steel-capped work boots or gumboots) should be worn. Footwear with laces should be avoided because laces are easily contaminated and difficult to clean. Footwear may remain inside the asbestos removal area for the duration of removal, but should be stored upside down and should not be shared. At the end of the removal work, safety footwear must be:

  • decontaminated
  • double bagged (if being used at another site), or
  • disposed as asbestos waste.

Gloves

It is recommended that single-use gloves are worn. Gloves should be disposed of as asbestos waste, and hands and fingernails should be cleaned thoroughly whenever leaving an asbestos area.

Respiratory protection

Ordinary dust masks are not strong enough to stop the inhalation of asbestos fibres and dust. You should wear a half-face filter respirator that is one of the following:

  • a Class P1 disposable respirator
  • a Class P2 disposable respirator
  • a respirator fitted with a Class P1 filter cartridge
  • a respirator fitted with a Class P2 filter cartridge.

This P1 or P2 number will always be displayed on suitable respirators.

Respiratory protection devices should comply with Australian/New Zealand Standard 1716:2012 Respiratory Protective Devices, or its equivalent.

To ensure the respirator is effective, it  must be fitted close to your face (this might mean being clean-shaven) and held tightly in place with a head strap. The respirator must also be properly maintained.

Tools

Tools and equipment that create dust must not be used on asbestos-contaminated materials. Examples of these include:

  • Brooms and brushes
  • High-pressure water sprays
  • Compressed air sprayers
  • High-speed power tools such as angle grinders, sanders, saws and high speed drills.

Only manually operated hand tools should be used on materials that containing asbestos.

Do not use a household vacuum cleaner when working with asbestos. Only specialised asbestos vacuum cleaners (complying with the Class H requirements of the Australian Standard AS/NZS 60335.2.69 Industrial Vacuum Cleaners and fitted with HEPA filters) should be used, and they must be decontaminated after use.

Remember: all tools must be properly decontaminated after use during asbestos work.