Concrete Scanning Blog

Four Phone Apps for Construction Safety

apps for construction safety

At Penhall Technologies, we value new and innovative ways to keep our team safe. We researched the latest apps for construction safety that will help you accomplish that for your team. These are our recommendations.

Safety Meeting

Safety Meeting App helps facilitate your safety meetings. It gives you meeting topics and safety checklists that are customizable to your trade and safety plan. Also, it meets OSHA’s required meeting standards.

FallSafety Pro

apps for construction safety

When workers keep their phone on them while working, this FallSafety Pro detects rapid movements that indicate a fall. In case of an accident, the worker can confirm the fall with one click. After confirmation is sent out, the app alerts an emergency contact (this could be you or another supervisor) and provides the person with location information. In case of a false alarm, the app gives the worker an allotted amount of time to confirm that they are okay. Otherwise, the alert will be sent out.

NTS (National Trench Safety)

This is a great tool for workers completing excavations. It provides OSHA’s excavation checklists, equipment information, OSHA’s charts on soil, sloping, benching, and safety standards. The NTS Mobile App prevents accidents by keeping your team informed and up to date with safety requirements.

First Aid – American Red Cross

Featuring videos, quizzes, and tips, the American Red Cross First Aid app educates you on first aid. This is a fun way to learn about emergencies and first aid, directly from the American Red Cross. Some of the features in the app include, but are not limited to: simulation of a variety of situations that allows you to prepare for emergencies, ranging from natural disasters to medical emergencies. It also lists the hospitals near you in case of a medical emergency.

Safety is our main pillar. We hope that you find these apps useful for your construction crew and everyone involved in your project.

March 9, 2018

Ground Penetrating Radar Used To Locate Unmarked Graves

underground utility locating

Our South Carolina Analyst started the year with an interesting project, locating unmarked burial sites. A church wanted to know the location of all possible unmarked burials to update the information they have on available space.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a method of inspection that is highly useful for this type of project. Using GPR utility locating equipment, any buried objects would reflect on the screen as a parabola as they were passed over above ground. Our analysts are expertly trained to interpret this data, which enabled South Carolina analyst to mark where the graves were with flags in real time.

Our analyst scanned one half of the small cemetery, this totaled to approximately a half acre of land. He used the GSSI SIR 4000 with a 400 MHz antenna to image the subsurface within the cemetery. The analyst found a total of 57 unmarked graves.

The analyst’s expertise is key in differentiating between old and new graves. Main components to look for is soil and reflections of the objects on the equipment’s’ screen. When looking at a newer grave, the soil appears to be collapsing. This suggests that its relatively young compared to the other burial sites.

ground penetrating radar

Additionally, the strength of the reflections would be the second clue; the newer burial sites reflect back with very high amplitude. On the other hand, the older sites do not reflect back as strongly. Perhaps, the reason for this is that different burial techniques were in practice between the times the bodies were buried.

Penhall Technologies has the expertise to complete any kind of project. From utilities to unmarked graves, we have the knowledge and equipment to complete an array of jobs. Contact us with information about your project and we will identify an approach on how best to assist you.

February 9, 2018

Digital Concrete X-ray – Common Misconceptions

You are ready to inspect the concrete for your project using digital concrete x-ray. However, you may have heard or read some information about the service before. This could make you hesitant or not fully confident in this state of the art service. We want to clear up any doubts and address the most common misconceptions about digital concrete x-ray.

Digital Concrete X-ray is dangerous

This service isn’t dangerous when performed by expertly trained operators and executed in accordance with state regulations. Our operators receive extensive training that covers safety parameters, proper setup, and how to operate the digital x-ray machine. This ensures that only the safest levels of radiation are emitted. The levels emitted with proper operation are far below state-level allowances. Because radiation is involved, we perform job walks to determine safety parameter zones for trades, employees, or bystanders on site.

Digital Concrete X-ray is better than GPR

These two services have the same purpose, but they are used very differently. While digital concrete x-ray may be the best choice for your project, GPR could be better for someone else’s project. A couple of things to ask yourself before pursuing digital x-ray are:

  • Do I have access to both sides of the slab?
  • Do I need an exact picture of what lies within the concrete? Or am I okay with an analyst interpreting GPR data that is collected?
  • Is my slab less than 12” thick?
  • Can I vacate a safety parameter zone near the x-ray site for a short period of time?
  • Do I suspect the slab to be highly congested?

For highly congested areas or where there is no room for data interpretation, we do recommend digital concrete x-ray. In some cases, we have used GPR and found the area to be too congested. After this, we suggest x-ray to our clients. This is just an example, but it is not always the case. Both are dependable methods of concrete inspection.

Results delivery can take a while

This misconception is very common. With digital concrete x-ray, the truth is very far from this. This service delivers a real time image. Picture the whole process as taking a picture of a landscape. Here, we do the same, but we image the interior of the concrete instead of the landscape. With this service, it is possible to know what is inside the concrete in a very fast manner; 5-10 seconds.

Currently, Penhall Technologies offers Digital Concrete X-ray services in San Francisco-Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas. We have plans to expand into more areas soon.

Did we answer all your questions or concerns? If not, contact us at, or give us a call at 707-363-9822.



January 5, 2018

Three Reasons Why You Should Scan First

concrete scanning for rebar

A lot of underground hazards lie beneath the surface you will be working on. It is essential to scan first to avoid all of the following scenarios we will touch on.

Hitting a utility line

Hitting a utility line during any type of excavation can result in great costs for those involved. To start, it can cut out the utility service for you and/or your community. According to a CBS News article, you could face fines from local regulators. Moreover, all repair costs, from fixing the damaged utility line to any damages done to neighboring homes or businesses, can fall on you.

You can also encounter physical injury costs for you or the workers performing the excavating. Some utilities can be dangerous for the person working, such as steam, gas, propane, and electricity, and communication lines.

Striking a post tension cable

If scanning is not performed before construction, you risk the chance of cutting into post tension cable. In a FLCAJ article, Richard Slider of Slider Engineering mentions that post tension cable release can cause structural damage to a building, as well as injury to workers. They also mentioned that the cost of a single cable repair ranges from $800 to $1,200. This does not include the cost of other repairs of areas affected by the release.

If a worker accidentally cuts into post tension cable, the cable reacts by snapping. In the past, workers have been badly injured or even killed due to this release.

Cutting into rebar

During construction, you also run the risk of damaging rebar. According to BNProducts, cutting into rebar can have serious consequences for your project. First of all, you can expect injuries for your workers. Sometimes, when you drill and hit into rebar, pieces of debris can fly out and strike workers. In addition, cutting into rebar can lead to extensive repairs that can keep your project behind schedule.

It is also important to be aware that cutting into rebar can cause serious damage to the structural integrity of the concrete. This can make your site too unstable to work on and further delay the completion date.


“Now many industry experts recognize that cutting into these hazard types can be devastating if people do not scan first. GPR technology is a real game-changer for safety,” said Penhall Technologies President, Simon James. If you want a safe and timely construction project, contact us for our concrete scanning and underground utility locating services.

December 18, 2017

Penhall Technologies To Offer Digital Concrete X-Ray Services In Multiple Locations

Penhall Technologies, a division of Penhall Company, is excited to announce the launch of digital concrete x-ray services in their local Washington DC, Maryland, Las Vegas, San Francisco- Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego branches. They are one of the first concrete inspection companies to provide this industrial radiography service in these areas.

Digital concrete x-ray is the application of hard x-rays or gamma rays to obtain a clear image of the interior of concrete. The method is useful when companies want to x-ray concrete for rebar, conduits, and post tension cables to avoid damage when cutting or coring.

“Our portable device allows us to perform x-ray for many different construction projects (suspended slabs, walls, and bridge decks) in many different locations – wherever our customers need us,” Said Director of Penhall Technologies, Elisabeth Doser.

This service is a must in many construction projects. By providing a precise picture of exactly what structural components are within the concrete, construction leaders can avoid striking any hazards during construction.

Penhall Technologies aims to provide this service to local construction companies with the goal of ensuring projects remain safe, on time, and on budget. They recommend hiring concrete inspection services for any project where coring, drilling, or cutting will take place.

“This service is safer than traditional x-ray techniques that use isotopes, and we can operate while other trades are working nearby if necessary,” said Doser.

Penhall Technologies has been an industry leader in concrete inspection services since 2001, using ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic induction technologies to identify subsurface hazards. The Company is again leading the way in the application of digital x-ray to construction projects.

Doser highlights, “We are able to provide digital concrete x-ray for our customers where ground penetrating radar is not sufficient for the customer or scope of work. Limited design and layout options in highly congested areas are ideal for x-ray.”

An added benefit of Penhall Technologies’ digital concrete x-ray services is that all their operators are also trained in GPR. This combination makes it possible to provide the best class service for any project, large or small.

Penhall Technologies brings nationwide services at the local level with more than 40 local branches. They have plans to offer digital x-ray services in Seattle within the next year.


December 7, 2017