The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will announce the format of its review of the employers' liability (EL) in the next week.

It is understood that the H&SE will lead the review.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the review in his pre-budget speech last week.

Insurance and trade bodies have eagerly awaited information on the review.

Meanwhile, the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) released a report on the future of the EL market in which it claimed the current system did not work for "society as a whole".

A DWP spokesman had no further details on who would carry out the review or the timescale involved.

ABI director general Mary Francis said: "The review must grapple with funding for occupational diseases such as asbestosis and the case for a no-fault system."

Biba chief executive Mike Williams said the broker body was ready to "play its part in negotiations".

The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the review, although it said more urgent action was needed.

The CBI said it was "encouraging".

The EEF was disappointed that Brown fell short of the OFT investigation of the EL market it had requested.

Its 11-page report suggested a reinsurance pool to minimise the danger to insurers of long-tail diseases.

Airmic chairman David Ireland said the government needed to urgently and radically rethink the issue.