M&W Tarmacadam Contractors employee Darren Mundell was standing on the bonnet of a paver to cut overhanging branches at the Arkleton Estate in Langholm on 7 November 2016. He lost his balance and fell into a tar hopper, Dumfries Sheriff Court was told.
Mundell sustained a spinal fracture and a damaged spinal cord which caused permanent paralysis from the waist down.
The Health and Safety Executive said the bonnet was not a safe place to work.
Inspector Kirstin Lynchahon said: "Planning the branch cutting activity would have included an assessment of the risks and either avoidance of working at height using long reach tools or measures being put in place to prevent a fall."
M&W was fined £10,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching reg 4 of the Work at Height Regulations.