The methods of elimination or minimization of risk are often presented in a form of reversed-pyramid-shaped hierarchy of controls scheme.
They are presented in this form on purpose – in brief, they are shown in order from the most to the least effective in terms of risk control.
It is possible to distinguish between measures that impact more than one person (worker) which are referred to as “collective measures” and measures that relate to one person only which are called “individual measures”. In risk management, collective measures have higher priority that individual measures.
Fig. 2. Hierarchy of controls
There is a concept of “Inherently Safe Design” that lies at the basis of risk control and is a starting point for actions aiming at risk reduction.
It is based on idea of avoiding hazards instead of controlling them.
Since as a municipal cleaners your job description would rather not include designing risk management processes, the most important thing for you to remember from this section is that although in terms of effectiveness, use of personal protective equipment in the least effective measure, however it is also the one that is highly dependent on how you will be capable to effectively use it to assure your safety at work aiming at limiting or removing health risk from occupational hazards.