Coal mine workers are the most affected labour class due to the exploitation of it’s employer. Recently Lahore high court gave a verdict in which a coal mine workers was awarded a meagre compensation of RS 100000. A coal mine worker, named Ghulam Muhammad was affected with a disease of pulmonary koch, an infectious lungs disease, while working in a coal mine situated in Punjab in Chua Saidan Shah area in Chakwal district under the employment of a contractor messers zephyr limited , a private company.According to compensation act 1923, a worker can claim a compensation only if he gets affected with a disease mentioned in a schedule of the act. Unfortunately the contagious disease of pulmonary kock was not being covered by the said worker compensation act. The honourable Lahore high court judge honourable justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi appointed me as amicus curiae to give expert opinion on the issue which was a grave cause of concern as the worker’s disease of pulmonary kock is not covered under the schedule. The honourable judge in its verdict granted a decision in favour of coal mine worker by relying upon the fact although the said disease is not covered under the schedule of act, yet it is the fundamental right of a worker to get compensation in case he or she gets afflicted with a disease during work. In the same judgement it was further observed by the judge that coal mine workers work in air compressed conditions and due to lack of enforcement of safety laws of coal mines, it is the duty of the state to safeguard the rights of coal mine workers. The judgement has been recently reported in Pakistan law journal as well as in Pakistan labour cases journal. The judgement is a reflection of the malfunctioning of state affairs where deputy commissioners/inspectors are negligent of keeping checks and balances on the enforcement of safety laws in coal mines. According to mines act 1923, the state has to ensure that coal mine business is carried out after ensurance and compliance with environmental and safety laws. However not only the public functionaries but also the people running coal mine operations are criminally negligent and showing callous attitude towards the safety coal mine workers. Pakistan is a member of International labour organisation and it has ratified 36 conventions regarding safety and welfare of labour. Worker compensation Act 1923 needs amendments in according with changing needs and must incorporate other diseases not covered by the law at present. The compensation, provided under the law, a worker gets after getting injured or loss in earning capacity is very meagre and needs the urgent attention of the government to bring reform in the law in order to enhance compensation. It is very unfortunate that government of Pakistan has neither been able to reform laws nor been able to enforce labour laws in pith and substance.The Mines Act, 1923, and the regulations framed under this Act stipulate a fairly extensive safety and labour welfare regime that must be enacted and observed at all mines. Under this Act, the key position empowered to carry out and verify the implementation of the Act is that of the chief inspector and the deputy commissioners/inspectors appointedThe Mines Act, 1923, and the regulations framed under this Act stipulate a fairly extensive safety and labour welfare regime that must be enacted and observed at all mines. Under this Act, the key position empowered to carry out and verify the implementation of the Act is that of the chief inspector and the deputy commissioners/inspectors appointed, pursuant to the eighteenth amendment, by the provincial governments. These inspectors/commissioners have the authority to inspect any mine to verify that the operation of the mine is in compliance with the provisions of the Act and the regulations framed there under, and are obligated, after receiving information or a notice of an accident in or about the mine causing a loss of life, to hold an inquiry on the accident. Coal mining has historically been fraught with hazards, which are similar to those associated with the aftermath of natural disasters: suffocation, gas poisoning, roof collapse, rock burst, gas explosions and a plethora of lung diseases, including incurable diseases like coalworker’s pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease. These risks can be substantially mitigated with the adoption of the requisite safety measures.The inspectors and the appointing authorities have done woefully little, if anything at all, in the face of repeated preventable mining accidents on account of non-observation of law and the applicable safety standards. If there has been any statutory mandated inquiry, then its recommendations or any information about sustained penal action against the culpable has been guarded as a national security secret. For example, despite 45 documented incidents resulting in more than 318 deaths in the last eight years, the Chief Inspector Mines of Balochistan has not prosecuted even a single mine owner/manager for criminal negligence under the Mines Act. The law accords special protection to labourers working in mines, partly because of the hazardous nature of the employment, but also partly because it recognises that labourers will not be able to negotiate or affect a safe working environment for themselves on account of the inherent power asymmetry that exists between them and the owner and management of the mines. At substantial distance from their home communities and with no political connections or representation in their new areas, the labourers working in the coal mines of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, are especially vulnerable. The silent deaths of many of these labourers seldom appear as more than a small news story.The Mines Act, 1923, also entitles labourers suffering from medical ailments commonly associated with working in mines to medical allowance expense from inspectors, and inspectors are consequently supposed to recover this expense from the relevant mine the labourer was working at the time the labourer contracted the medical ailment. The owners and management of the mine typically try to recruit labourers through a sub-contractor to obfuscate their responsibility and liability for the safety and welfare of the employed labourers. Whether this practice ultimately extinguishes the responsibility of the owners and management towards the recruited labourers is a disputable question. Nonetheless, this is often used as a defence by the owners and management of mines to deny responsibility in the rare instance of legal proceedings initiated by a labourer. The offices of the inspectors are underfunded and understaffed on account of the continued apathy of the provincial governments that appoint inspectors and are responsible for their performance, and inspectors continue to get away with the non-performance of their statutory duties.Until the provincial governments and political parties start taking this issue more seriously, despite the small political luggage associated with the problem, and make a serious effort to implement the law, accidents in coal mines resulting in the loss of life will continue to happen consistently. The writer is a human rights activist, teacher and a constitutional lawyer. He can be contacted at email@example.comPublished in Daily Times, October 19th 2018.