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How to keep your portable table in a safe working condition


In a clinic or mobile environment we are asking a lot from a portable table. A table that weighs less than 12kg is expected to regularly withstand over 10 times its own weight. On top of this constant pressure is applied from all angles, whilst the table is moving and flexing in many directions - day in, day out, year after year.

There are also increased risks with a permanently setup portable because unlike with mobile treatments; the routine of setting up and folding out a portable, many times a day, allows for a quick visual check of all components i.e you are more likely to spot if a bolt has worked its way loose.

There have been countless examples of practitioners that have brought portable tables into our workshop for servicing where the table is on the verge of collapse. We have seen hinges with missing screws, bolts where the nut has worked itself loose or even worse where the nut is completely missing and the bolt is just about to fall out! Luckily in these cases a major accident had been avoided. But in the vast majority of cases portable tables are unfortunately brought to us only after the table has had a major malfunction or has collapsed.

It is concerning that many portables currently in use are over 10 years old and have never been checked or serviced, it is paramount that you conduct regular safety checks, or you could be risking serious patient injury. This situation could also result in an embarrassing dent in your professionalism, any chance of repeat business from your customer and possibly even litigation.

It is not just old portables that need to be checked even the best engineered portables need to be regularly serviced.

Tables that have collapsed should not be used again until they are professionally inspected to ensure that they are safe. This is because the locking button could be damaged or the telescopic brace could be damaged i.e. the tube twisted, elongated, or bent to the point that the locking button engagement is compromised (e.g. the button no longer sufficiently clears the outer telescopic brace); table welds could be compromised; or the cable could have stretched and is no longer supporting correctly.

Portable table maintenance checklist:

Use this check list for older Athlegen portables with a single supporting cable system such as the Professional, Genesis and Supa Lightweight models.

Supporting cables must be the correct length for your specific table. It is potentially very dangerous to use a portable with a damaged, incorrect length, or loose supporting cable.

How to check if your supporting cable is in good condition:

  • Erect the table.
  • Flip the table vinyl side down on the floor (i.e upside down)
  • Ensure the supporting cable is not twisted
  • Check that the supporting cable is taut and not loose. If the cable is loose then the weight bearing capacity of your table is compromised and the supporting cable will need to be replaced.
  • Check the cable swages
    a. If the swage ends are bent (this is caused by using excessive force when you incorrectly fold a leg section into the frame), please replace.
    b. Check that the cable wires that enter the swage are not frayed. If so replace the cable.
    Note cable length is unique for every table, please contact us on how to correctly measure for a replacement.
  • Stop using your portable until the supporting cable is replaced.
  • Once you have replaced your supporting cable carry out the above check-list immediately to ensure that the cable supplied is the correct length for your table.

Check your table periodically for loose bolts and tighten if required. Careful not to over tighten.

Athlegen will be delighted to provide a free inspection of your table (of any make) if you bring it in to one of our service centre locations. Please ring first to ensure one of our technicians is available.

Wishing you safe treatments ahead!