Work-related upper limb disorders (WRULD) are among the most commonly reported occupational illnesses. Epidemiological evidence of work-relatedness has been reported for a number of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, hand/wrist tendinitis, shoulder tendinitis and hand-arm vibration syndrome. A range of electrodiagnostic techniques and psychophysical tests has been used to assess neurological dysfunction associated with WRULD, whereas only very few studies have examined biochemical markers of soft tissue injury. This report reviews key literature on physiological tests and biochemical markers of musculoskeletal stress/injury, which are applicable to studies of WRULD. The paper concludes by proposing new ways that testing might be implemented during occupational health surveillance to enable early warning of impending problems and to provide more insight into the underlying nature of soft tissue disorders.