A mineworker works at the rock face at the Impala Platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd is the world's second-biggest platinum producer. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg News

Johannesburg - Cosatu on Wednesday called on mining bosses to ensure that safety measures are in place before allowing miners to return to work after a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the North West province.

“We call on the mine bosses to do all within their power to save the lives of all mine workers, in particular those working underground, by making sure that all safety requirements are in place,” Congress of SA Trade Unions North West secretary Solly Phetoe said in a statement.

“We call on the management to make sure that counselling is arranged for all those workers who are affected and their families.”

Phetoe also called on miners to report safety problems to employers before going into mines.

“Workers must report all other health and safety challenges that they may see after this incident that has caused a lot of damage to our workplaces.”

One person was killed and 17 injured when the earthquake hit shortly after noon on Tuesday, causing scares in mining operations and evacuations in parts of the country.

People in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, and the Northern Cape reported feeling the quake, as did people in neighbouring Mozambique and Botswana.

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said at least 400 houses were destroyed in Orkney, which was the epicentre of the quake.

An aftershock hit the township of Khuma, near Orkney, on Tuesday evening hours after the Council for Geoscience warned of it.

It was not clear on Wednesday if operations at all the province's mines had temporarily shut down.

AngloGold Ashanti said power had been temporarily interrupted on Tuesday and later restored. - Sapa