No sick leave - never

If my maths is correct Peter Constable has worked 18,250 days or 600 months without taking a sick day.

NEVER SICK:  Peter Constable pictured at this place of work Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley Operations. He has worked at the mine for 45 years and never taken one sick day.

NEVER SICK: Peter Constable pictured at this place of work Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley Operations. He has worked at the mine for 45 years and never taken one sick day.

Pretty amazing really because that means for the last 50 years of his life Peter has been well, never succumbed to the winter flu eaten a bad prawn that caused  an upset stomach- nothing absolutely nothing has made him sick enough to miss a day of work.

Just as amazing is the fact he has worked in the coal mining industry for most of that time and never required even a cold pack for a damaged finger – Peter also has a totally clean slate as far as work injuries are concerned.

Businesses around the country  would love to employ Peter or as least clone him because one of the biggest headaches in the work force is absenteeism.

Peter puts his good health down to a good diet, keeping fit and enjoying his lifestyle which means liking his work and relaxation time in almost equal parts.

Fatty food and takeaways are a no no for Peter except in emergencies or when travelling. At home he is happy with a diet full of variety and plenty of fruit and vegies.

For the past 45 years Peter has worked at Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) where he is a dragline operator and trainer.

During his time at the mine he estimates he would have trained at least 50 other dragline operators.

He started working in the mining industry in 1969 at Clutha Development’s Falbrook open cut and since that time has driven most of the gear used on a mine site.

“I started with the grease cart and since then have driven or operated dozers, cranes, trucks and then the dragline,” Peter said.

For 41 years Peter has worked shift work including more than a decade working 12 hour shifts.

Research has shown shift work can have some detrimental health affects but once again Peter has remained immune to all the ailments.

He commented that living only 16 minutes from his place of work was ideal.

“So many people these days travel more than an hour and a half to work and that can’t be good for you,”  he said.

“Once I leave home in Muswellbrook it only a takes matter of minutes and I am at work and the same goes for the return trip which is great and saves hours commuting to and from work each day.”

Being so well also has its financial advantages because in Peter’s industry sick leave of 240 hours each year is accrued by the workers.

He has been able to roll 12 to 13 years of sick leave into his superannuation and today is still owed 2700hrs in sick leave. 

With some people considering mines unhealthy places to work in and live by Peter says just look at him.

“Its great living here in the country – I grew up in the country it was a wonderful place and lifestyle helping Dad on the farm driving tractors – probably helped with my work skills,” he said.

Peter was born at Cassilis near Merriwa and today his former primary school is split in half by the Golden Highway.

He attended Cassilis High School which in his day had 136 pupils and the village itself had a grocery store, baker, police station, general store and a pub.

Today the village is best known for its annual campdraft and is virtually only a spot on the map bypassed by the highway and certainly not a home to a high school.

From Cassilis Peter’s family moved to Muswellbrook and his first job was working on a local district dairy farm.

He married his wife Lavinia in 1969 and they have three children, a daughter also Lavinia living and working in Hong Kong, son Peter in Bendigo, Victoria and another son David who also works at HVO.

And just to prove how healthy he is or how good the aircraft is he fly’s in Peter and his wife travel regularly to Hong Kong to visit their daughter.

“She is married to a Cathay Pacific pilot so we always fly Cathay Pacific and not only to visit Lavinia but also on our other overseas trips we have made,” he said.

Not once has Peter returned from a flight with a bad cough or some other ailment – something that afflicts most overseas travellers.

In his spare time he loves to play golf and is a regular on the Muswellbrook course where he has also volunteered as a tree pruner for 44 years.

Lets hope this story doesn’t jinx him.