Carry out fault diagnosis on services and systems for food and drink operations

Business Sectors (Suites): Food and Drink
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 26 Feb 2021


This standard identifies the competences you need to carry out fault diagnosis on services, and service equipment and systems used within food and drink operations, in accordance with approved procedures. You will be able to diagnose faults on a range of service equipment and systems, including fresh and foul water, environmental control, emergency power generation, heating and ventilation, steam distribution, process control, instrumentation control, refrigeration, and cleaning equipment at sub-assembly and/or component level, as applicable to the equipment.

You will be able to use a variety of fault diagnostic methods and techniques, and to utilise a number of diagnostic aids and equipment. From the evidence gained, you will be able to identify the fault and its probable cause, and to suggest appropriate action to remedy the problem. Food and drink operations is a term used in this standard to cover the following sub sectors of Meat, Drinks, Confectionery, Fresh Produce, Bakery, Seafood and Dairy.

You will be able to work with minimal supervision, taking personal responsibility for your own actions and for the quality and accuracy of the work that you carry out.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. work safely at all times, complying with health and safety, environmental and other relevant food and drink regulations, directives and guidelines
  2. obtain and use the correct issue of company and/or manufacturers' drawings and maintenance documentation
  3. review and use all relevant information on the symptoms and problems associated with the products or assets
  4. plan the fault diagnosis so as to minimise disruption to normal working
  5. investigate and establish the most likely causes of the faults that occur during food and drink operations
  6. isolate equipment (including mechanical, electricity, gas, steam, air or fluids) in accordance with organisational procedures
  7. provide and maintain safe access and working arrangements for the maintenance area in accordance with organisational procedures
  8. select, use and apply diagnostic techniques, tools and aids to locate faults in accordance with organisational procedures
  9. complete the fault diagnosis in accordance with organisational procedures
  10. determine the implications of the fault for other work and considerations for food safety risks
  11. use the evidence gained to draw valid conclusions about the nature and probable cause of the fault
  12. record details on the extent and location of the faults and complete documentation in accordance with organisational procedures
  13. dispose of waste items in accordance with organisational procedures

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the health and safety and environmental requirements of the area in which you are carrying out the fault diagnostic activities, and the responsibility these requirements place on you not to compromise food safety
  2. the specific safety precautions to be taken when carrying out the fault diagnosis of the particular food and drink related service system
  3. the isolation and lock-off procedures or permit-to-work procedure that applies, including the critical control points
  4. the requirements of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) guidelines and standards in relationship to the fault diagnosis activities
  5. the specific requirements of your customer/client specifications in relationship to the fault diagnosis activities
  6. your responsibilities in relationship to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Threat Assessment and Critical Control Points (TACCP), Vulnerability Assessment and Critical Control Points (VACCP) during the fault diagnosis activities
  7. the importance of wearing protective clothing and other appropriate safety equipment (PPE) during the fault diagnosis process, the type of equipment to be used, and where to obtain it
  8. hazards associated with carrying out fault diagnosis on service equipment and systems (including handling fluids, stored pressure/force/temperature, electrical contact, process controller interface, using faulty or damaged tools and equipment, using practices that do not follow laid-down procedures), and how to minimise them and reduce any risks
  9. what constitutes a hazardous voltage and how to recognise victims of electric shock
  10. how to reduce the risks of a phase to earth shock (including insulated tools, rubber mating and isolating transformers)
  11. where to obtain, and how to interpret, drawings, service and circuit diagrams, specifications, manufacturers' manuals and other documents needed in the fault diagnostic activities
  12. the basic principles of how the system functions, and the working purpose of the various units within it
  13. the principles of the equipment's design features for safe operation in a food or drink environment including minimising the chance of contaminates or foreign bodies in the final product
  14. the various fault finding techniques that can be used, and how they are applied (including half-split, input/output, emergent problem sequence, six point technique, function testing, unit substitution, injection and sampling techniques and equipment self-diagnostics)
  15. how to evaluate the various types of information available for fault diagnosis (including operator reports, monitoring equipment, sensory inputs, machinery history records, and condition of the end product)
  16. how to evaluate sensory information (including sight, sound, smell, touch)
  17. the procedures to be followed to investigate faults, and how to deal with intermittent conditions
  18. how to use the various aids and reports available for fault diagnosis
  19. the equipment that can be used to aid fault diagnosis (including mechanical measuring instruments, electrical measuring instruments, test rigs and pressure and flow devices), and how to check that it is calibrated or configured correctly for the intended use, and that it is clean and free from damage and defects
  20. the application of specific fault finding methods and techniques best suited to the problem
  21. how to analyse and evaluate possible characteristics and causes of specific faults/problems
  22. how to relate previous reports/records of similar fault conditions
  23. how to evaluate the likely risk of running the equipment with the displayed fault, and the effects the fault could have on the overall process/product
  24. the checks required to ensure that all tools, materials and components are all accountable before operating the equipment
  25. how to prepare a report which complies with the company policy on fault diagnosis
  26. the extent of your own responsibility and to whom you should report if you have problems that you cannot resolve


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Manufacturing Technologies, Plant and Machine Operatives, Process Operatives, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

SOC Code



Food and Drink; Engineering; manufacturing; maintenance; engineering drawings; documentation; technical manuals; technical specifications; illustrations; reference tables; schematic layouts