If you work in the live entertainment sector long enough, whether it be performing or organizing, you will have events that stand out in your memory as less than acceptable. Sometimes, it is a sound system that wasn’t what you expected. Perhaps, things that were promised were not delivered. It can even be something as wrong as an unsafe working environment. Some examples could be a less than stable stage, electrical hazards close by, blocked fire exits, or unrealistic working conditions.
As someone who has been hired to perform a task, or has done the hiring, you have the right to refuse to work in subpar conditions. This does not mean it is acceptable to be a diva and make unrealistic demands. It does, however, ensure that you will not willingly put yourself or crew in a dangerous situation that may result in injury or even death. No amount of money is worth losing a life.
When looking at a stage for the first time, walk the entire area and visually look for places where it sags or dips. Check the stage legs to make sure they are all secure. In a band or dance situation, there is quite a bit of weight transfer going on that can put strain on a stage that isn’t up to proper specs. Over time, this could result in an accident not only for the entertainer but anyone close to the stage. Take a look overhead and see if there is anything that could fall as a result of loud noises and movement.
If you feel like you are being asked to use a stage that you aren’t comfortable with, speak up and talk to the person in charge. Inform them of your issues and give them proper time to address those issues. If, in a reasonable amount of time, they do nothing to make it safer, it is still your choice not to perform.
This also applies to electrical requirements. If you inform them in advance of your requirements and they did not provide what you need, don’t use something you feel is dangerous. Too much power and not enough power can damage your expensive equipment in a split second. Who pays for it at this point?... you do. Communicating early in the process will eliminate 90% of these headaches but some things will still sneak through the cracks. Always be flexible in solving problems, if you can, yet be safe at the same time.