Utility Locating 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

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

Top 5 reasons homeowners call in for private utility locating

private utility locating

Are you wondering if you need to use private utility locating services? Here are the most common reasons why our clients hire us for their locating needs.

811 won’t do the locate

811 is a public utility locator. They can locate all utilities from the street to the meter. Any utilities in your private property would need to be located by a private utility locator, such as Penhall Technologies.

They already hit a utility

Oftentimes, our customers will call us because they started excavating without scanning first and hit a utility line. Therefore, they want us to scan the rest of their property to prevent any further damage. Striking a utility line can be costly and can result in injury.

They called someone else and they were unsuccessful

This scenario goes hand in hand with the reason previously mentioned. Sometimes our clients do scan. However, the company they selected didn’t provide accurate markings and the client struck a utility as a result. Our analysts complete extensive utility locating training. They are trained to properly mark your site, provide written reports, and to provide you with the best service.

Home improvements

It is always important to locate all utilities before doing any projects that require digging or excavating. This includes, but is not limited to: landscaping, fencing, pool installation, installing a mailbox, deck installation, among others.

Water leaks

A lot of our clients suspect that they are dealing with a water leak. While we can’t locate the water leak itself, we can help you locate the water line and look for signals of wet soil that may indicate the location of the leak.

If you want to learn more about underground utility locating, read our blogs. If you are ready to schedule our services, please give us a call at (844) 211-5300 or fill out our quote form.

December 4, 2017

How to Find a Leak in a Water Pipe

locate water leak

Our clients often call us asking if we can locate a water leak with our utility locating equipment. While this technology doesn’t give us the exact location of the leak, there are different ways to detect it.

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the typical home loses 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks.  Some leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible. Such is the case of a leak in a supply pipe that is buried at least 3 feet underground.

When our analyst arrives on your site, he/she will use the utility locating equipment (pictured above) to scan for the water line. On the screen, objects like this line will show up as a hyperbola. From that initial reading, the analyst can follow the path of the line and mark it as he/she goes.

For some clients, this is very useful for inspection. They know exactly where their water line is, so they can excavate and make sure that everything is in good condition. For most clients, they want to know if there is a leak. And if so, where is it exactly?

Our analyst would look for signs of wet or damp soil, this indicates a possible leak and the location of it. When we scan over the leak, the wet soil will typically show up on the screen as a bright reflection. This is an indicator that the equipment has detected a possible water leak.

Do you suspect that you have a water leak? Our GPR analysts are ready to assist you! Contact us for a consultation.

November 10, 2017