Peter Aspinall, 64, had been asked to prune a sycamore tree in the grounds of a hotel, but instead of leaning his ladder against the trunk he placed it against the branch he was hacking down.
When the branch fell it took Mr Aspinall with it, 14ft to the ground below. He broke his heel, damaged his ligaments and had to spend ten days in hospital recovering from surgery on his injuries.
Now Mr Aspinall, who had worked at the Egerton House Hotel near Bolton, Lancashire, for just two weeks, is suing them for compensation.
He took the action after health and safety inspectors concluded the hotel failed to carry out a risk assessment on the dangers of pruning.
They also said that his employer should have given him training on where to place the ladder.