Asbestos: how to protect yourself from asbestos

Guidance and description for carrying out asbestos remediation

Why is asbestos dangerous??

When working with asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, asbestos dust is produced, which contains fibers shaped like fine needles. At the set limit values, the dust cannot be seen with the naked eye. Due to the structure of asbestos, the fibers can constantly be split lengthwise by physical impact and thereby become thinner and thinner. If you inhale these small asbestos particles, they can penetrate into the finest branches of the lungs. Once they end up here, the body never gets rid of them again. Here they will sit and irritate the tissue, so that scar tissue is formed. Over time, this reduces lung function and entails the risk of developing asbestosis and various forms of lung and gastrointestinal cancer. Asbestos and tobacco smoking can reinforce each other's harmful effects and thus increase the risk of lung cancer.


Tightening of the limit value for asbestos in 2022

From January 1st 2022, a new limit value for asbestos in Danish workplaces will apply. The limit value for asbestos was previously 0.1 fibres/cm3. After the turn of the year '22, it drops to 0.003 fibres/cm³.

Until now, the limit value in Denmark has been the same as in the EU, but from 2022 it will be significantly lower than the rest of the EU.

You can read more about the rules in "Bekendtgørelse om grænseværdier for stoffer og materialer (kemiske agenser) i arbejdsmiljøet" på

Changed rules per 1 July 2023
The Working Environment Authority has amended 3 orders on working with asbestos to clarify the requirements for companies. The new rules come into force on 1 July 2023. One of the changes includes the introduction of a fine of DKK 10,000 for companies that do not report asbestos work. In addition, companies that do not have a work plan for demolition can be subject to a competence order. This order requires the company to build up its own skills or use an authorized working environment advisor to prevent similar working environment problems in the future.

Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos consists of thousands of tiny individual fibers that can be spun into threads, woven together or crushed. As asbestos cannot burn and can withstand temperatures up to 900 C, it is suitable for reinforcement, insulation and fire protection and has therefore been used for many years in a wide range of building materials.

Asbestos will typically be found in cladding panels for walls, ceilings and roofs, in floor coverings and in special products such as eternit ducts, sealants, tile adhesives and plastering materials. In 1972, the use of asbestos for the insulation of technical installations was banned; but in the past it has been used to a large extent.

This applies to the insulation of pipes, containers, boilers, ventilation ducts, gaskets in boiler doors and flange joints, etc. The insulation is often made with diatomaceous earth (a type of clay mixed with asbestos), but insulation with almost pure asbestos can also occur, e.g. in the form of white asbestos sheets. Asbestos-containing roof, facade and ceiling boards were used until the end of the 80s.


Asbestos must be registered

In the Working Environment Authority's order no. 993 of 1 Dec. 1986, by law, builders, owners or users are required to register all asbestos deposits inside buildings, ships etc.

The registration does not apply to exterior asbestos materials and to "non-commercial" construction, which is why you as an employer cannot assume that information is available on all asbestos in the building.

If there is the slightest suspicion that there is asbestos in material or in a building, the asbestos regulations must be followed!


Safety equipment for asbestos remediation

Here you can see a graphic overview of the recommended safety equipment when working with asbestos.

Sikkerhedsudstyr til arbejde med asbest

Very dusty indoor asbestos work

For very dusty demolition work, a respirator with fresh air supply and connected to a compressor must always be used.

There must be max. work for 4 hours per day with a fresh-air respirator, and appropriate rest breaks are taken.

Special suits and footwear are used throughout the remediation. Reusable suits are washed with a frequency depending on the nature of the work. Disposable suits are discarded after use and deposited as asbestos-containing waste.

Used disposable suits must be approved for asbestos remediation.


Less dusty indoor asbestos work

For less dusty work, such as cleaning, a full mask can be used, which is supplied with air from a battery-powered turbo unit.

The mask is supplied with P3 filters. There must be max. work for 6 hours per day, interrupted by suitable rest breaks.

The use of filtering respirators must be limited to 3 hours, unless a filtering respirator equipped with a turbo unit is used.

Special suits and footwear are used throughout the remediation.

Asbest indvendig

Indoor repairs - asbestos enclosures

For very little dust-generating work, e.g. internal repairs, use a half mask fitted with P3 filters and an approved disposable suit.


Outdoor demolition of asbestos

For very little dust-generating external work, disassembly/demolition, a half-mask fitted P3 filter and an approved disposable suit can be used.

For highly dusty exterior work, stricter precautions must be observed.

Safety equipment (suits, masks, machines, etc.) must not be removed from the remediation area and the locks without being thoroughly cleaned or packed in airtight plastic bags.

udvendig asbest
asbest sanitering
udvendig asbest
asbest beskyttelse
asbest collage

Rights for images and extracts go to the Danish Asbestos Association's guidance for asbestos work and remediation.


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