Ochsner LSU Health- St. Mary Medical Center

General Information

Building Name: St. Mary’s Med Tower

Building Location: Shreveport, LA

Project Type: Existing Building

MSC services utilized: Waterproofing

Total Construction Costs [or Value]: $160,000


The existing exterior sealant at St. Mary’s was failing and needed to be replaced. However, because of the layout of the facility, there no was access via aerial lift. Martin was able to accommodate these conditions by using a swing stage scaffold until the motor and emergency descent unexpectedly failed with three of our employees suspended 60’ in the air.


After trying the emergency descent procedure, our employees contacted their Project Manager to report the equipment failure. They were instructed to attempt to reset the motor, however, they had no success in this. Luckily, the scaffold was located in an accessible area, so the decision was made to use an 80’ aerial lift as a rescue device. Our employees spent nearly two hours on the swing stage before the lift was delivered. Once unloaded and moved into place, the three employees were rescued one at a time.

After our employees were safely removed, it was time to attempt to lower the swing stage. Our Health, Quality, and Safety Manager contacted the supplier of the failed equipment to discuss the situation. The supplier suspected that a capacitor might have blown within the unit, however, we had no capabilities to replace it. The supplier then suggested that we move a backup motor and outrigger into place to control the scaffold. Our team decided that this was the best course of action and began working. They were able to execute the plan and lower the swing stage to ground level safely and successfully.  At this point, the piece of equipment was removed from the job site and shipped back to the supplier for further analysis and repair. Martin was able to complete the job with a second swing stage scaffold that was on site.

Equipment failure is something that is not typically discussed, but it does happen. Although there are things that can be done to avoid certain failures, some things are simply out of our control. Thankfully, our employees were able to use their training to navigate through their situation while remaining calm. Situations such as this one is why Martin makes safety training a number one priority.