Use knives in food and drink operations

Business Sectors (Suites): Support Operations in Food and Drink Operations
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 01 Jan 2019


This standard is about the skills and knowledge needed for you to use knives in food and drink operations.

You will need the skills and knowledge to use knives safely and appropriately dependent on the tasks to be carried out ensuring appropriate use personal protective clothing. You will need to understand the purpose of knives in the food industry, the consequences and costs of poor knife usage, the use of personal protective clothing and the principles of knife hygiene and safety.

This standard is for anyone working in food and drink operations who needs to use knives safely.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. check the specification to determine and select the correct knife for the task in accordance with organisational requirements
  2. select appropriate personal protective equipment according to the specification
  3. check the knife is sharp and in a safe condition to use
  4. use the appropriate grip techniques for the task in accordance with organisational requirements
  5. position self and product for cutting task according to safety regulations and procedures
  6. carry out knife work as detailed in the specification
  7. clean, return and store knives according to specification
  8. carry out sharpening of knife as necessary
  9. follow legal or regulatory requirements, organisational health and safety, hygiene and environmental standards or instructions

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the legal or regulatory requirements, organisational health and safety hygiene and environmental standards or instructions
  2. different types of knives for different tasks
  3. the structural design of knives and how this relates to their use
  4. how poor knife usage can compromise both operative and food safety
  5. the consequences of poor knife usage on product quality
  6. how productivity can be affected by ineffective use of knives
  7. how the position of product and speed of work affects the requirements for personal protective equipment
  8. how the product properties affect the requirements of personal protective equipment
  9. different grip techniques for different tasks/products
  10. the requirements for different body positions dependent upon the knife operation
  11. the benefits of colour coding of knives
  12. the process for cleaning knives
  13. the hazards associated when using knives
  14. workplace factors that can affect the safe use of knives
  15. the purpose of specifications and why it is important to follow them
  16. how to sharpen and maintain edge on knife


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

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

SOC Code



Food; drink; manufacturing; knife; health; safe; fresh produce; meat; poultry; fish