Background. Older workers have a higher rate and cost of injury than younger workers and with a rapidly ageing work force there is a need to identify strategies to address this problem. Older workers are less physically active and fit than younger workers and so have reduced work ability. The reduced work ability means they are more likely to be fatigued at work and so at greater risk of injury. Exercise could potentially assist this problem. Exercise training has been previously shown to improve fitness in older people however there has been no evaluation of workplace exercise program for older workers. We do not know if the programs are feasible and can improve the fitness and work ability of older workers. We have designed a randomised controlled trial to evaluate whether exercise improves fitness and perceived work-ability of older workers. Methods/Design. This paper describes the protocol for a trial examining the effects of a 12-week physical training program in workers over the age of 45. Participants will be randomized to an exercise or no-intervention control group. The primary outcomes are cardiorespiratory endurance, lifting capacity, upper and lower limb strength and perceived work-ability. Discussion. This trial will test the feasibility of implementing a worksite-based exercise program as a means of improving the physical fitness and work-ability of older workers performing physically demanding work. If we demonstrate the feasibility of the program we will conduct a larger trial that additionally measures injury outcomes.