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The majority of the regulations written in regards to protective equipment is found within the OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.132 Subpart I.
The main premise of this OSHA regulation states the necessity for employers to continually monitor and assess the safety of the workplace environment. Based on this assessment, employers should provide protective equipment to all of its employees working in the areas, which require it - while monitoring workplace safety.
The regulations set forth by the OSHA might seem general, but they state the responsibility of the employer to provide the necessary environment and equipment for their employees.