The Australian mining industry has achieved impressive performance and safety results through continuous improvement of its training standards. Interactive virtual reality-based training is the most recent technology used to enhance workers’ competencies in a safe and controlled environment which allows the replicable testing of extreme event scenarios. Like any other training method, Virtual reality (VR) -based training must be assessed in order to evaluate the advantages and limitations of this innovative technology, compared with more traditional approaches. Research was aimed at designing and implementing a framework to tackle the cultural issues involved in accepting innovative VR-based training programs developed for high risk industries. The present study was conducted with Coal Services Pty Ltd, a pioneering training provider for the coal mining industry in NSW, Australia. The research focussed on specific training programs developed for the mine rescue brigades. These brigade teams are made up of highly specialized miner volunteers who provide the primary response to major incidents. The research framework examined the adequacy of training needs, technological capabilities and the implementation of interactive simulation. The research outcomes provide evidence-based information on the advantages and limitations of VR-based training for mining rescue brigades. The framework is flexible and can be applied to other types of training for the mining industry or adapted for use in other industries.