Maintain fresh water distribution systems and equipment used in 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 corrective maintenance activities on water distribution systems and equipment used in food and drink operations, in accordance with approved procedures. You will be able to maintain a range of fresh water systems, including mains cold water (potable (drinkable)), hot water supplies, cold down service and non-mains supplies (river, well). This will involve dismantling, removing and replacing faulty or damaged components, including pumps, valves, couplings, traps, motors, pipework, cylinders, tanks, heaters filters, gaskets/seals, faucets and other ancillary equipment.

You will be able to apply a range of dismantling and assembly methods and techniques, including marking/labelling of components to aid the reassembly, dismantling components requiring pressure techniques, torque loading and setting, and aligning and adjusting components. 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. plan and communicate the maintenance activities to cause minimal disruption to normal working
  4. follow the relevant maintenance schedules to carry out the required work
  5. carry out the maintenance activities in accordance with organisational procedures within the limits of your personal authority
  6. isolate equipment (including mechanical, electricity, gas, 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. re-connect and return the system to service on completion of the maintenance activities
  9. report any instances where the maintenance activities cannot be fully met or where there are identified defects outside the planned schedule
  10. complete maintenance records and documentation in accordance with organisational requirements
  11. dispose of waste materials in accordance with safe working practices and approved procedures

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the health and safety and environmental requirements of the area in which the maintenance activity is to take place and the responsibility these requirements place on you not to compromise food safety
  2. the isolation and lock-off procedures or permit-to-work procedure that applies, including the critical control points
  3. the specific food and drink related health and safety precautions to be applied during the maintenance procedure, and their effects on others (including current safe working practices for working in confined spaces and the prevention and control of legionellosis legislation)
  4. the requirements of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) guidelines and standards in relationship to the maintenance activities
  5. the specific requirements of your customer/client specifications in relationship to the maintenance 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 maintenance activities
  7. hazards associated with carrying out maintenance activities on water distribution equipment and systems, and how to minimise these and reduce any risks
  8. the importance of wearing protective clothing and other appropriate safety equipment (PPE) during the maintenance process
  9. how to obtain and interpret drawings, specifications, manufacturers' manuals and other documents needed in the maintenance process
  10. the procedure for obtaining replacement parts, materials and other consumables necessary for the maintenance
  11. company policy on repair/replacement of components during maintenance process
  12. the sequence to be adopted for the dismantling/reassembly of various types of assemblies
  13. the methods and techniques used to dismantle/assemble mechanical equipment (release of pressures/force, proofmarking, extraction, pressing, alignment)
  14. methods of checking components are fit for purpose, and how to identify defects and wear characteristics
  15. how to make adjustments to components/assemblies to ensure they function correctly
  16. the basic principles of how the equipment functions, its operation sequence, the working purpose of individual units/components and how they interact
  17. 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
  18. the types and applications of the different types of pipework systems (including copper, plastic, iron)
  19. the applications of the different types of couplings and their fittings (tees, bends, branches)
  20. the equipment and tools used to bend, form and thread pipework
  21. the types of contaminants in water systems, and the problems they can cause
  22. the different methods used to treat water supplies to meet user needs
  23. the applications of the different pipework and equipment cleaning procedures (including rod, water jet, steam, chemicals, solvents)
  24. methods of checking removed components are fit for purpose, and the need to replace `lifed' items (including seals, gaskets, washers)
  25. how to make adjustments to components to ensure they function correctly
  26. how to check tools and equipment are free from damage or defects, and are in a safe and usable condition
  27. the processes in place to segregate the tools and equipment used into high or low risk areas
  28. the checks required to ensure that all tools, materials and components are all accountable before operating the equipment
  29. the cleaning requirements/policies in place before returning the equipment into full operational production
  30. the generation of maintenance documentation and/or reports following the maintenance activity
  31. the equipment operating and control procedures to be applied during the maintenance activity
  32. how to use lifting and handling equipment correctly and safely in the maintenance activity
  33. the problems associated with the maintenance activity, and how they can be overcome
  34. the organisational procedure to be adopted for the safe disposal of waste of all types of materials, including any spoilt food or drink products
  35. the extent of your own authority and to whom you should report if you have problems 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; water distribution; fresh water; hot water; mains cold water system; non mains water supply; ancillary water equipment; pipework