Athabasca employee profile: Catherine Nagus, Athabasca Basin Security
With contribution by Stan Dugan, Regional Manager, ABS
Like many jobs, an Industrial Security Officer (ISO) at a mine site has routines and procedures to follow. But you never know for certain what to expect on any given day. “During our patrols we watch for things like fire, property damage, or people in areas they shouldn’t be,” says Catherine Nagus, an Industrial Security Officer working at the Cigar Lake uranium mine site. “Our job is to protect people and property, and over the years, I’ve seen lots of things happen. Every day is different.”
Nagus started with Athabasca Basin Security (ABS) as a full-time employee at Cigar Lake Uranium mine in summer of 2006, and she has worked for ABS in the thirteen years since. “I heard about the job when I was working for a different company, and went and got my security course and then applied to the company, and the rest is history,” she says. In 2016, she transferred south to the Jansen project for a period of time, working in the potash industry. Early in 2019, she moved back to Cigar Lake, close to where her home is. “I was born and raised in Wollaston Lake,” says Nagus, “I enjoyed my time down south but it’s good to be back home.”
Like most ISOs, Nagus works a 2-week in and 2-week out rotation. On one rotation, she will work nights and the next rotation will be days. “While on days, a typical shift will consist of mostly gatehouse duties where I’ll verify paperwork and identification of people, vehicles and commodities that are wanting to gain access or leave site,” says Nagus. “I will participate in conducting luggage searches at the airport of incoming employees. I will also conduct a patrol to break up the 12-hour shift at the gate.” Night shifts are twelve hours and are comprised of patrols of the camps, offices and outlying areas of the site and responding to the gate to allow access on or off site.
Sometimes animals will wander into site. Most of the time, these animals leave without incident, but not always. Shortly after midnight on August 30, 2016 Nagus came upon a young man being attacked by a wolf. She managed to scare off the animal and then rendered first aid to the man and calledthe Emergency Response Team. The young man was flown offsite and was fortunately able to make a recovery. Nagus was honored with the St. John’s Life Saving Award for her actions and bravery in December 2016. Nagus remains humble about the events of that night. “As the mother of four boys, I just wanted to protect him,” she says.
Like all security officers in Saskatchewan, Nagus completed a Saskatchewan Justice Approved Security Guard Training Course prior to starting with ABS. This 40-hour course is a requirement for a security officer position with any company in Saskatchewan. “ABS has conducted this course several times over the years,” says Ron Hyggen, CEO of ABS. “We also provide training on an ongoing basis to help our staff prepare for any situation that arises. I am incredibly proud of Catherine and our staff who consistently demonstrate levelheaded thinking in sometimes very stressful situations.”
Nagus likes to relax and loves to play bingo. Nagus has also enjoyed her time at ABS. “It has been a great learning experience,” she says. “I have met a lot of interesting people. It has made me a better person and taught me a lot about life. It has been a good career and I would recommend it to anyone. Put your application in and come join our team!”