ALBANY — Painters have enjoyed the protection of the “scaffold law” for more than a century, but the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled in a case of first impression last week that their fellows who hang wallpaper are not covered by the statute.

“While wallpapering apparently poses many of the same elevation-related hazards as painting or other activities enumerated in Labor Law �240(1) and, arguably, is no more a ‘decorative modification’ than painting …, it is distinguishable in that it was never included among the activities which the Legislature has specifically elected to absolutely protect under Labor Law �240(1),” the court said in a unanimous opinion by Justice Edward O. Spain.

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