BACKGROUND: Workplace risk factors, such as repetitive tasks, can cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders. In a rat model, decreased grip strength and median nerve injury develop following repetitive reaching and grasping tasks, involving negligible force. OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether median nerve injury is involved in the early onset of decreased grip strength due to such tasks METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into: non-task-performing (0-week) and task-performing (1-, 2-, and 3-week) groups. After an initial training period, the task-performing groups continued to perform the task for 2 h/day, 3 days/week, for 1-3 weeks. Grip strength and relative muscle weight of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) muscle were measured. Median nerve injury was evaluated by histopathology and immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Grip strength of the reach limb (forelimb used in tasks) was significantly lower in the 3-week group compared with the other groups and was significantly lower than that of the non-reach limb in all groups. There were no significant differences in the relative FDS muscle weights of either limb among groups. No evidence of median nerve demyelination was observed and no cells expressed activating transcription factor-3, a specific marker of peripheral nerve injury, in the anterior horn of the spinal cord. CONCLUSION: Median nerve injury does not contribute to the decreased grip strength caused by 3 weeks of repetitive reaching and grasping tasks, involving negligible force, in rats.