In the second half of 2017, Pattern Energy shifted to a self-perform business model at five of our wind facilities, which means operations and maintenance (O&M) activities at these sites are performed by technicians who are employees of Pattern Energy, and not of a third-party service provider.
This improves our competitiveness through efficiency gains and cost reductions and gives us greater control over facility operations to help boost performance and reliability. Our first full year to self-perform O&M activities was 2018, increasing our field employee workhours by nearly three-quarters compared to 2017.
Our Pattern for Safety program takes a comprehensive approach to developing a culture of safety through performance training. Our operations staff are highly trained in safety topics relevant to their work, including working at heights, working with high and medium voltages, performing rescues, and first aid and CPR. They undergo on-site training and recertification on a regular basis.
These programs and our Integrated Talent Management System provide both mandatory training as well as online learning resources that staff may undertake at their own pace. We view our workforce as a critical resource, and we have created a system of incentives to motivate and encourage skills acquisition and knowledge development.