Active chromatin remodelling is integral to the DNA damage response in eukaryotes, as damage sensors, signalling molecules and repair enzymes gain access to lesions. A variety of nucleosome remodelling complexes is known to promote different stages of DNA repair. The nucleosome sliding factors CHRAC/ACF of Drosophila are involved in chromatin organization during development. Involvement of corresponding hACF1-containing mammalian nucleosome sliding factors in replication, transcription and very recently also non-homologous end-joining of DNA breaks have been suggested. We now found that hACF1-containing factors are more generally involved in the DNA damage response. hACF1 depletion increases apoptosis, sensitivity to radiation and compromises the G2/M arrest that is activated in response to UV- and X-rays. In the absence of hACF1, γH2AX and CHK2ph signals are diminished. hACF1 and its ATPase partner SNF2H rapidly accumulate at sites of laser-induced DNA damage. hACF1 is also required for a tight checkpoint that is induced upon replication fork collapse. ACF1-depleted cells that are challenged with aphidicolin enter mitosis despite persistence of lesions and accumulate breaks in metaphase chromosomes. hACF1-containing remodellers emerge as global facilitators of the cellular response to a variety of different types of DNA damage.