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-70 degrees: Inside one of the world's coldest workplaces

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 19:41:20-05

The temperature inside Hector Alamo's workplace is about -70 degrees. He works at Chr. Hansen, a Wisconsin culture plant and spends much of his day inside a freezer.

New Berlin's Chr. Hansen produces bacteria cultures that are used as ingredients in food products like wine, meats, yogurt, cheeses and other dairy products. The cultures are stored in two 12,000-square-foot freezers that remain near minus 70 at all times. These operators are specially trained for the extreme environment and utilize specially-made protective gear.

The 25 pounds of gear includes special suits that help keep in warmth and boots that have 2-inch-thick soles.

Workers can remain in the freezers up to 4 hours at a time, but are invited to take breaks and only stay as long as their bodies will allow. In addition to the extra gear, workers have safety radios that will monitor if a person has fallen over and not gotten up in minutes. This will alert others of a potential issue in the freezer.

The freezers are so cold that the Copenhagen, Denmark-based company must heat the floors to prevent permafrost from forming under the building. Currently, Chr. Hansen is expanding their freezers. Once the new area is built, it will take days to slowly cool the freezer room to the proper temperature properly.