Maintain instrumentation and control systems 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 to instrumentation and control equipment used in food and drink operations, in accordance with approved procedures.

You will be able to maintain a range of instrumentation and control equipment, including pressure, flow, level and temperature instruments, fiscal monitoring equipment, fire and gas detection and alarm systems, industrial weighing systems, speed measurement and control systems, vibration monitoring equipment, analysers recorders and indicators, telemetry systems and emergency shutdown systems. This will involve dismantling, removing and replacing a range of instruments and faulty peripheral components, down to unit and board/component level, as appropriate. 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 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 the process/system operation
  4. follow the relevant maintenance schedules to carry out the required work
  5. carry out appropriate de-contamination procedures (including toxic, corrosive, inflammable, explosive) in accordance with organisational procedures
  6. carry out the maintenance activities in accordance with organisational procedures within the limits of your personal authority
  7. insert any relevant system trip defeats (including fire extinguisher, emergency shutdown) in accordance with organisational procedures
  8. isolate instruments (including process, electricity, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical) in accordance with organisational requirements
  9. provide and maintain safe access and working arrangements for the maintenance area in accordance with organisational procedures
  10. re-connect and return the system to service on completion of the maintenance activities
  11. report any instances where the maintenance activities cannot be fully met or where there are identified defects outside the planned schedule
  12. complete maintenance records and documentation in accordance with organisational requirements
  13. 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 procedure or permit-to-work procedure that applies to the system, including the critical control points
  3. the specific health and safety food and drink precautions to be applied during the maintenance activity, and their effects on others
  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. what constitutes a hazardous voltage and how to recognise victims of electric shock
  8. how to reduce the risks of a phase to earth shock (including insulated tools, rubber mating and isolating transformers)
  9. the importance of wearing protective clothing and other appropriate safety equipment (PPE) during the maintenance activities, and where this can be obtained
  10. the procedures and precautions to be adopted to eliminate electrostatic discharge (ESD)
  11. hazards associated with carrying out maintenance activities on instrumentation and control systems (including handling fluids, stored pressure/force/temperature, electrical supplies, process controller interface, using damaged or badly maintained tools and equipment, not following laiddown maintenance procedures), and how to minimise them to reduce any risks
  12. how to obtain and interpret drawings, charts, specifications, manufacturers' manuals, history/maintenance reports, symbols used on instrumentation and control documents, and other documents needed in the maintenance process
  13. the basic principles of operation of the instrumentation and control equipment being maintained, how the system functions, its operation sequence, the working purpose of individual units/components and how they interact
  14. 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
  15. the reasons for making sure control systems are isolated or put into manual control, and appropriate trip locks or keys are inserted, before removing any sensors or instruments from the system
  16. the identification and selection of instrument sensors (including how to identify their markings, calibration information, component values, operating parameters and working range)
  17. methods of checking and calibrating instruments, and the type and range of equipment that can be used
  18. the correct way of fitting instruments to avoid faulty readings (caused by head correction, poor flow past sensor, blockages, incorrect wiring, poor insulation or incorrect materials)
  19. the correct and tidy installation and connection of external wiring and components, to avoid electronic interference or mechanical damage
  20. how to carry out visual checks of the instruments (checking for leaks, security of joints and physical damage)
  21. the procedure for obtaining replacement parts, materials and other consumables necessary for the maintenance, including their safe/hygienic storage before use
  22. company policy on the repair/replacement of components during the maintenance process
  23. the techniques used to dismantle/assemble integrated equipment (release of pressures/force, proofmarking to aid assembly, plugging exposed pipe/component openings, dealing with soldered joints, screwed, clamped and crimped connections)
  24. methods of attaching identification marks/labels to removed components or cables, to assist with reassembly
  25. methods of checking that components are fit for purpose, and the need to replace batteries, boards and other failed items
  26. how to check that tools and equipment are free from damage or defects, are in a safe and usable condition, and are configured correctly for their intended purpose
  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. the problems that can occur during the maintenance of the instrumentation and control system, and how they can be overcome
  33. the organisational procedure to be adopted for the safe disposal of waste of all types of materials including any spoilt food or drink products
  34. the extent of your own authority 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; instruments; control system; pressure control; flow control; temperature control; fire detection; gas detection