Use of 240 volt submersible pumps

The purpose of this Safety Alert is to highlight a dangerous practice of using 240 Volt submersible pumps for carnival side show concessions, Lasso the Duck, and Duck Pond being two examples.


240 Volt pond pumps are sealed devices rated IPX8 or higher, the pumps are intended for ponds or aquariums where the body of water is not routinely accessed by human beings, this is due to the electric shock risk associated with current leakage from such a device into the body of water which may not be of a magnitude high enough to cause an Residual Current Device (Safety Switch) to operate, but can still cause an electric shock severe enough to endanger the life of a child, or an adult with cardiac issues.

This follows a recent fatal electrocution in Queensland where a Pump Factory Pty Ltd - 2" Deep Diver Submersible Bore Pump was found to be damaged, resulting in the fatal shock.

Examination of show concessions in Darwin and Alice Springs identified 240 Volt pond pumps being used contrary to the manufacturer’s recommendations, one pump in Alice Springs was removed from service and tagged out due to observed damage to the supply cord, similar to the Queensland incident.

Contributing factors

  • Use of pumps outside of their intended purpose.
  • Potential damage to pump and supply cord presenting an electric shock risk.

Action required

  • Use only pumps approved for human interaction, these are a 12 Volt low voltage pump.
  • Use an air blower pump instead to agitate the water.
  • Use an RCD protected 240 Volt pump where the pump is situated outside of the water tank.

Further information

For further information please refer to the following.


Guidance publications

Safety alerts


This Safety Alert contains safety information following inquires made by NT WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of NT WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident. NT WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up-to-date and does not accept any liability for the information in this report or as to its use.