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The glove bag method of asbestos removal is used on small scale friable asbestos removal works. As mentioned in a previous article, Friable Asbestos Removal Process, friable asbestos is any asbestos containing material that can easily be crumbled by hand or is in the form of a powder. As with any friable asbestos removal works an enclosure must be constructed for the safe removal of the asbestos.

When asbestos testing has confirmed that the material contains asbestos, then removal is generally recommended due to the increased risk of potential exposure if disturbed.

The glove bag method is a variation of a full enclosure by providing an easy to install & quick to dismantle temporary enclosure that isolates the asbestos containing material from the general working environment. The material to be removed is isolated using single use bags, generally one metre wide and 1.5 metres deep, with arm access points constructed from thick polyethylene. The polyethylene must be transparent otherwise this method of removal cannot be used so that the process can be viewed by the person doing the removal work and by others.

One of the main advantages of the glove bag method is that the asbestos to be removed is contained within the enclosure and the removalist remains external to the enclosure. This means that the removalist is not directly exposed to asbestos during the removal. Although theoretically PPE & RPE are not required it is recommended that at least a P1 filter respirator and coveralls are worn in case of a rupture or leak in the enclosure.

Before the enclosure is constructed all tools required for the asbestos removal should be placed inside the bag. The bag is then placed around the ACM to be removed and taped to create a strong seal and ensure that it will support the weight of the bag & its contents.

The removal of the ACM follows the general guidelines in removing friable asbestos. The wet spray method for the removal of friable asbestos is the best method when using a glove bag. It involves wetting down the friable asbestos containing material using water (a surfactant can be added to aid in the wetting of the material such as detergent) at a constant low pressure to suppress the release of asbestos fibres. At the time of the removal process, the material should be constantly in a wet condition and resprayed as sections are removed. When the removed ACM falls into the glove bag it should also be thoroughly sprayed.

Once the removal has finished and the ACM has been sealed for disposal a small hole is cut in the bag and all of the air inside which may contain respirable asbestos fibres is vacuumed out. The glove bag is then removed from the workspace packaged and disposed on in accordance with EPA guideline. Any tools that were used must be decontaminated following the appropriate procedures.

Author: Stuart Lumsden

Stuart Lumsden


A Bachelor of Forensic Science in Applied Chemistry from the University of Technology, Sydney, Stuart is a Property Risk Assessor who specialises in the area of Asbestos and Hazardous Materials.