The purpose of this investigation was to compare the prevalence of soft tissue disorders in the neck, arms and hands between packers doing repetitive work and shop assistants with variable tasks. One hundred and fifty-two female assembly-line packers in a food production factory and 133 female shop assistants were interviewed about their symptoms and given a clinical examination of the neck and upper extremities. The number of cases of tension neck, cervical syndrome, scalenus syndrome, and humeral epicondylitis did not differ significantly between the two groups. The prevalence of tenosynovitis and humeral tendinitis was significantly higher for the assembly-line packers. The packing work consisted of static muscle work by the arms, grasping and maximal extensions of the fingers, and lateral deviations of the wrists. The movements numbered up to 25,000/workday. A relationship between some work load factors and some disorders of the upper extremities is probable.