OBJECTIVES: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most important work related musculo-skeletal diseases in Korea. However, there are few epidemiologic studies on the work-related CTS (WR-CTS). This study aimed to investigate the epidemiologic characteristics of WR-CTS in Korea. METHODS: Data obtained from the"CTS Surveillance System". Physician case-reports in the surveillance were used to document patterns of WR-CTS by age, gender, occupation, sign, symptom, working history. RESULTS: Six hundred and seventy-two cases of WR-CTS were ascertained. of which 314 with complete information on occupational history were analyzed. It has been estimated that as many as 72% of all CTS cases are work-related. The highest proportion of WR-CTS was observed in 'elementary occupation workers', followed by 'skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers'. The distributions of WR-CTS cases were similar with respect to age, obesity, and past medical history. The proportion of WR-CTS was higher in females. There was no significant difference in physical examination findings between WR-CTS and non WR-CTS cases. Repetitive work and the inappropriate hand posture seemed to be the risks for WR-CTS. CONCLUSION: WR-CTS is a significant public health problem. The CTS surveillance system is quite useful to elucidate the characteristics of WR-CTS, but it remains of limited use in targeting specific industries and occupations for intervention.