Diamond mines are few and far between on the planet, with only a handful located in Canada. It is with great pride that Les Équipements JPB was called upon by the Stonoway Diamond Corporation to design and install a freestanding rooftop guardrail on the main building of the Renard Mine, the company’s flagship asset and the first diamond mine in Quebec. Located in the James Bay region of north-central Quebec, it is the only mine in Canada with year-round access, a major asset.
It goes without saying that a project like that of the Renard Mine requires the implementation of numerous worker safety measures. Each situation presents a particular challenge, as variables such as site parameters, tasks to be performed, job-specific employee equipment, etc. all factor into the system design. In the case of this diamond mine, Stornoway needed to install a fall prevention system on the roof, among other measures, to ensure worker safety as they replace filters and perform regular maintenance on the dust collection system.
Extremely Difficult Conditions
The task was even more complex given that this 27-metre high building is subject to heavy rainfall, high wind and extreme temperatures falling as low as -28°C., making it intrinsic to consider the inclement weather conditions faced by employees while at work. In winter, they are outfitted in parkas, gloves and boots for extreme conditions, which restrict movement and mobility; to this add goggles in case of a blizzard, which limit visibility. In this context, a lifeline or a fall arrest harness would be difficult to use. As such, the Stornoway team opted for freestanding guardrails, for security without damaging the rooftop. There was still one problem, however: most guardrail systems feature L-shaped bases, with the part on the ground attached to the counterbalance weight sometimes measuring as long as the system is high. As a result, the workspace is cluttered and worker mobility is severely affected. With the heavy boots and goggles worn by Stornoway workers in the winter, the risk of tripping over the guardrail feet would be high.
A Solution to Meet the Challenge
That’s when the Stornoway team learned about the freestanding rooftop guardrails designed by Les Équipements JPB. Unlike other manufacturers, our guardrails are equipped with straight, centred feet and bases that does not exceed 16 inches in length. As such, workers can walk along the guardrail system without having to step over anything or worry about tripping over system components. This is what makes the difference so that employees could move about their workplace more easily and safely.
With 1.9-inch rails made of tough schedule 40-series 6061 T6 aluminum alloy tubing, our freestanding guardrail system is robust, durable, lightweight and rust-resistant. Rails connect with aluminum-magnesium 535 cast fittings screwed tightly (not welded) in place. An additional vertical rail is inserted to reinforce each section mid-way between the feet. In the case of the Renard Mine and its extreme weather conditions, we installed vertical reinforcements at 21-foot intervals, rather than at the usual 28-foot standard, to increase system rigidity. Finally, steel bases and counterweights made of 0.5-inch 304 stainless meant that all elements are highly resistant to rust and oxidization.
In addition to the numerous advantages offered by both the quality of the design and of materials used, the Renard Mine team benefitted from the expertise of Les Équipements JPB project managers, who worked closely with them throughout the process. Attentive and available, our experts worked in tandem with Stornoway safety officers to develop a freestanding guardrail system to suit their needs and working conditions. Furthermore, our team submitted technical renderings of our freestanding guardrails as well as a certificate of compliance to CNESST and Canadian Building Code standards, all stamped and signed by our engineer. Such collaboration is only possible when one does business with experts…and that’s exactly what we offer to all of our clients.
For more information about the Renard mine, please visit their website.