Shelby Mining has been fined $280,000 by the US Government after two of its miners were seriously burned in an incident last year.

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) said that worn cutter bits at the firm’s coke mine came into contact with the roof of the rock and friction ignited the air-methane mixture in October 2008.

In addition, it found Shelby had failed to carry out effective water sprays or take air readings.

MSHA deputy assistant secretary for operations Michael Davis said that Shelby failed in its responsibilities as a mine operator.

“The stated obligation of every mine operator is to seek out and eliminate safety and health hazards that may adversely affect its employees. In this instance, the foreman sailed to so that and a serious, yet avoidable accident, occurred,” he said.

In total, Shelby was charged with three unwarrantable failure violations.

By Natalie Coomber