I got totally distracted by the Olympics recently because I finally got to watch some sports on TV that I used to participate in myself and that I only get to see every four years. And then I got out of the habit of writing posts. I got as far as copying down a link about explosive coworkers a couple of weeks ago from Ask a Manager.
But now I'm back! So. Explosive coworkers, a theme I have extensive experience with, especially if you extend "coworkers" to include drillers and other contractors.
AAM suggests that when dealing with someone explosive, you tell the person (calmly) that the exploder is being unreasonable and then come back later when they've calmed down.
I have never found that telling someone in a full-on rage that they're being unreasonable to be helpful. In fact, it's pretty obnoxious. Most explodey people know they're being unprofessional. But their professionalism isn't exactly high on the list they're focusing on at the moment.
If someone is clearly getting steamed up, I suggest a break/taking some time to vent. If possible, I'll busy myself with paperwork so that they can mutter about how everything sucks and storm around for a bit. But once someone is at the screaming/throwing things stage, there's nothing to do but to wait it out and then address the lack of professionalism afterward.
I have always been the person who smooths down ruffled feathers and soothes people who are freaking out. I do get pissed off by people who get all worked up and essentially force me to be the peacemaker, to the point of raging (internally) myself. On a very rare occasion, my "pollyanna" disposition has irritated someone even more, finally causing an epic blowout. This has actually worked out the problem (sometimes screaming back causes the aggressor to back off) but it's not exactly productive or a permanent solution.
Of course, if someone is actually threatening/directing animus directly at me, and not having a general freakout, I'm not quite as dispassionate. If someone screams at me, I'll tear up and we can throw professionalism out the window. Sigh.