AT least nine coalminers have died as a result of an explosion in a gas mine in Machh, near Quetta. Who is to be held responsible? This is no doubt a job that is full of hazards, and accidents could happen, but following the use of modern technology the world over the lives of the workers have been made more secure. But as with most things, we still have a lot to do to better the plight of our labour community. According to the workers on the site, the cause of the accident was poor safety precautions and outdated machinery. The fire that broke out after the explosion could have been put out and precious lives saved, had there been some rescue equipment. The mine, that is owned by provincial minister Humayun Khan Kurd, is also to share some blame. According to reports, the mine had been shut down because of an explosion last year but the contractor, bypassing the rules, had opened a new shaft. The government has launched an inquiry, which should be welcomed. Moreover the death of the coalminers should be taken as a wakeup call to enforce stricter safety and precaution rules in the coalmining industry.