Personal protective equipment: Asbestos

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Personal protective equipment


Fire and rescue services must ensure that the personal protective equipment (PPE) provided for asbestos-related incidents complies with service policies and procedures.

If asbestos is likely or known to be present, the most suitable PPE that supports the tasks that need to be achieved should be selected.

Chemical protective clothing (CPC), either liquid tight suits or gas tight suits, should be worn at high hazard asbestos incidents, such as removing asbestos lagging; this will help to facilitate more effective decontamination processes. However, CPC is not appropriate in the event of there being a fire.

If it is a fire-related incident, structural firefighting kit should be worn rather than CPC. Most CPC offers very little protection against heat and fire, and is likely to melt, burn or malfunction in fire conditions. This can have a detrimental effect on the effectiveness of the CPC and has the potential for exposing the wearer to excessive heat.

Fire-related incidents involving asbestos present circumstances where there is an unsolvable conflict between suitability of PPE and the combination of hazards. Therefore, the PPE that best controls the majority of, or most significant, risks must be used. In this scenario, the advantages of controlling the risks of the fire to personnel outweigh the disadvantages of more difficult decontamination processes.

Further information is provided by the Health and Safety Executive Equipment and method sheet EM6: Personal protective equipment (including RPE).

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions