Mike A Winbow

OH&S Professional

In 2010 I knew my career as a mason was coming to an end due to heavy work, and I was getting older. I consulted an employment specialist and she put the idea into my head of becoming a Construction Safety Officer, CSO for short. She said I had a lot of Knowledge and Safety Experience that could be passed down to the younger generation. I was in my early 40s, a middle aged man and I am scared to death because it looks like I am going back to school. A couple of weeks at The British Columbia Institute of Technology, a few more at The University of the Fraser Valley with some continuing education, courses and upgrades along the way through the BCCSA and I have taking the required Safety Courses.

My very first job was at Cenovus Energy at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Alberta. Next, I was being asked if I could run the night shifts safety program at the Stave Lake Dam Spillway Gate Project in Mission BC. They were replacing the old spillway gate doors. Since I was local to the area and my vast masonry experience particularly in Silica, I would be able to serve BC Hydro in a very favorable way.

In order to acquire the night shift on my own without any OH&S supervision or help with First Aid, I had to perform a mock rescue of an injured worker 5 stories down in the spillway. The time limit was 20 minutes from the sound of the horn till I had to have my patient up and out of the spillway and loaded into the EVT we had on site. I was to be in full command of the operation. Five stories of stairs to negotiate, examination of my patient, make the calls, give the commands, a full package of my patient and a DEP Box ride to the top, all while the heads of the Prime Contractor as well as a half-dozen BC Hydro Managers stood by and monitored my performance and actions, all while digitally recording the mock rescue. 20 minutes max was allowed, not a lot of time and I was a little nervous.

I had my patient examined, packaged, and loaded in the emergency transport vehical top side in 17 minutes.

I founded my company FreeBird Safety Services on September 4th, 2011 due to a company wanted to subcontract me instead of the traditional employment status for a shutdown job at the Kearl Lake Oil Sands Projects in Northern Alberta. I ran with it. My reputation has grown and my knowledge of WorkSafe BC Regulations has increased exponentially over the years. I find myself now receiving emails, text and phone calls from new Safety Professionals. They ask my advice as to situations and issues they are up against on their sites. I am all too happy to share my knowledge to others. After all, thats what we d0.

Now I have added new divisions to my company. Expanding into Personal Fall Protection System training in which I instruct myself and as of August of 2017 expanding again into the field of supplying Temporary Construction Safety and First Aid Personnel.

In the next year, we will be expanding into the Film and Television industry supplying personnel, training and consulting when ever asked upon. Building a division that has the ability to arrive on a location with everything thats beneficial for the Safety and First Aid of all workers in both industries. Prime Contractor or Production Companies in TV and Film need only place a phone call and have their safety and first aid concerns handled. We will have the capability to deploy a fully operational Occupational Health and Safety facility, fully operational within 30 minutes of arriving on your location. This is where I want to take my company and develop relationships with not only companies who hire FreeBird safety Services, but communities as well.

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