Home>Industry Update>Company News>In the spotlight with Paul Bryce
Home>PPE>General PPE>In the spotlight with Paul Bryce

In the spotlight with Paul Bryce

20 March 2024

This month we put JSP's Paul Bryce in the spotlight to find out how he found himself in the health and safety industry.

How did you get into the health and safety industry?

In 1996, at 16-years old, my Mum convinced me to apply to our local Arco branch in Scotland and I was lucky enough to be chosen to join their Apprenticeship programme at the time – as a ‘commercial trainee’. This provided me with the opportunity to learn about our industry from the ground-up, literally, having experienced working in warehousing and distribution, the trade counter, customer service, telesales, field sales and ultimately Product Portfolio Management.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Aside from having the opportunity to contribute to keeping people safe at work, over the past 20 years I have had the pleasure and privilege to travel extensively as part of my job. Whilst this meant some personal sacrifices, due to time spent away from family and friends, I am overall grateful for the opportunity I have had to meet and work with some incredible people and experience a myriad of cultures (and some amazing food!).

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the health and safety industry in UK?
Rising costs for industry somewhat inevitably force companies to review their indirect expenditure, including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Unfortunately, there is a significant volume of substandard and poor-quality PPE and other safety products finding their way onto UK market, potentially leaving workers and workplaces at risk of harm. Per the PPE at Work Regulations employers are responsible for providing, replacing, and paying for PPE. PPE is often used when all other measures are inadequate to control exposure to a hazard, or indeed as a critical element of a multi-layer defence system. Suffice to say if PPE fails, then the consequences can result in serious harm or even death.

How do you think these challenges can be overcome?
There is an old proverb that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Failing to check that PPE is fit for purpose could leave you or your employees, for whom you have a duty of care, vulnerable and unprotected. Hence it is vital that specifiers and buyers of PPE ensure that the equipment being procured is fit for purpose and is backed up by the required documentation to evidence compliance with the PPE Regulation and related legislation. Initiatives, such as the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, are available to support industry in ensuring that PPE is genuine, appropriately approved and that you will receive sound, expert advice in the selection of adequate solutions for your workplace.

What sets JSP apart from its competitors?
In 2024, we celebrate the 60th birthday of Johnstone Safety Products, and what has since become JSP Limited. We are proud of our heritage as a trusted UK and European Manufacturer of PPE. What truly sets us apart is our people. Since the company’s founding it is our people, through their expertise and passion for doing the right thing, that has and continues to set us apart from the competition. Our customers also benefit from state-of-the-art UK and European manufacturing, with three sites in Oxfordshire (UK) and one in Dusseldorf (Germany) that are dedicated to the production of JSP’s above the neck PPE and traffic management/road safety portfolio.

What are your most memorable successes at JSP?
For me personally it has been less than 6-months with the company and so a little too early to claim success.

What’s next in the product pipeline for JSP?
We recently launched a next generation safety helmet, known as EVO ALTA, which offers all-round impact protection. It is a mountaineering-style helmet that features a specialised shell structure and internal liner to increase durability and shock absorption performance. Precise adjustment settings enable a secure fit, ensuring the helmet remains stable on the wearers head. And true to our philosophy at JSP, it is engineered to maximise compatibility and interoperability with other PPE - including eye/face, hearing and respiratory protection.

What’s your vision for the future of JSP?

Since the company’s founding, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities have been at the core of the JSP ethos - with the company having made significant investments in renewable energy and vertically integrated production capability, that is close to our customers. It is by building on our legacy of protection, strong foundations in ESG and maintaining a customer-centric mindset, that we will be able deliver on our vision to improve the safety, health, and productivity of people in the workplace, worldwide.

What do you think the medium-term future holds for the safety industry globally?

As I alluded to earlier, the industry faces a myriad of macroeconomic and political challenges – as does the rest of the World. Hence it is important that stakeholders do not lower standards in the face of such challenges and, together, remain committed to ensuring we protect people with PPE that is rigorously tested and certified, as well as being manufactured and sourced in a more sustainable manner. Consistent testing at JSP’s BSI-approved, in-house testing laboratories and a rigorous 3rd party assessment regime ensures that every JSP product meets strict Quality Standards – including many benefitting from the World-renowned and 120-year trusted BSI Kitemark Scheme. We simply cannot and should not compromise on our commitments to protect people and our planet.

What health and safety issues are you most passionate about?
I am particularly passionate about raising awareness on the risk and consequence of exposure to hazardous substances (i.e., chemicals). The latest figures published by the World Health Organisation (WHO)* reported that, globally, 2 million lives and 53 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were lost in 2019 due to exposure to selected chemicals. The same report indicated that in Europe, in 2019, some 269,500 deaths were attributable to exposure to chemicals or groups of chemicals such as lead, pesticides, occupational carcinogens and occupational particles. And yet the reality is that the burden of disease and environmental impact attributable to chemicals has been estimated for relatively few types of chemicals. This lack of scientific evidence and data means the burden on human and planetary health is likely significantly underestimated! For people and animals alike, chemicals can have acute and chronic effects and impact the systems of an organism – respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, urinary, nervous, immune, and metabolic. They can also cause allergies and even cancer.

How can we entice more young talent to work in the health and safety sector?

Over the years, especially in the media, the health and safety sector has too often been the butt of jokes. ‘Health and Safety Police’ anyone?. It is incumbent on us to ensure that this negative perception of our industry continues to be challenged and indeed changed, if we are to entice young talent to seriously consider a career in the sector. From my perspective, there are few higher purposes than keeping people safe from harm especially, if in doing so, we can also contribute to a healthier planet.


Paul Bryce is Chief Commercial Officer at JSP. For more information, visit www.jspsafety.com