The Health & Safety Executive's new cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), came into force on Monday 1 October.
Under the Health & Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE's related costs, including, inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.
Detailed guidance for businesses and organisations is available on HSE's website.
Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of HSE, said: "The most basic safety mistakes in the workplace can devastate lives and result in real costs to industry.
"It is right that those who fail to meet their legal obligations should pay HSE's costs rather than the public purse having to do so."
HSE went on: "Fee for Intervention provides a further incentive for businesses to manage health and safety effectively and to operate within the law. It should also help level the playing field between those who comply and those who don't.
"Costs will be recovered where there has been a material breach of health and safety law. A material breach is where a business or organisation has broken the law and the inspector judges it serious enough to notify them in writing."